On Desert Ground and On A Dime (Two Part Storytelling Poetry) 

On Desert Sand

She walks leaning heavily

On the wooden cane.

She’s come a long way

Since she came back from

Broken and Bloodied.

She’d never be put back together again.
She remembered those first few days

Conscious in a blur

Remembered running to the aid

Of a terrified boy

A soldier not ready to die.

She had saved his life

But nearly lost hers

She saw legs with size eight combat boots

A few feet from her and knew

Instantly what had happened.
She didn’t drift out until they

Had stabilized her

She remembered being loaded into the air ambulance

Quietly praying she’d survive

Then she drifted off to a place she was free of pain.
She woke up to strange sounds

And a familiar face

Her baby sister Courtney who was terrified of planes

Had flown to be with her.
It was hard those first weeks

To simply stay awake.

Your body healed when you slept

She knew that

But nothing could give you amputated limbs back.
When she was stabilized once more

She was sent back to the states

To Walter Reed Hospital

Her sister always by her side.
She had a long road ahead of her

She knew that

But Cheyenne was no stranger to hard Work.

Giving up was not an option

She was a Soldier, broken and battered

But she had survived.
During those moments

She felt utterly broken

Remembering that Desert

And it’s danger

But it’s beauty too

Always had a way of lifting her up.

She’d close her eyes

And see a child’s hands reach out

For a Chocolate bar

A luxury so many couldn’t afford.
Some thought of that place

As Hell but Cheyenne saw the beauty there.
“Someday I’m going back,

Not as a soldier

But I can do something to help.”
“I’ll go with you

Courtney said.” Not a doubt

In her mind her sister would do as she said.
It took her months, but she learned

To walk again

On legs of titanium and plastic

Only a hand carved wooden cane as her aid.
To Be Continued In On A Dime

On A Dime

He held out a hand eagerly

Dirty and broken

An old dog his only companion.

It hadn’t been long ago

He had been a mere boy

A soldier at eighteen

He had nearly died

In that far off land.
She nearly walked passed him

Then she looked him in the eye

That Boy Soldier from a lifetime ago

Though it had only been a few years.

The years had been not kind

To him.

And her heart hurt.

Life hadn’t been kind

She reached into her purse

For a couple of twenties then

Realized she needed to do something More.

She handed him the twenties

But had something bigger on her mind.

Life had been good to her

Even with what she had lost

On that Desert Sand.
“I know you.” He said

A glint of recognition in his eyes

“You saved my life.

I thought you had died.”
“As you can see

I am very much alive.

What happened to bring you here?”
“Life can change on a Dime.” He said

“And mine changed for the worse.
She shook her head

“This won’t do

No soldier should sleep in the streets.”
She led him to a hotel room

She rented for two weeks

By then she’d find a more permanent Solution.
“It looks like you did

Well for yourself.”
She reached in her bag and

Handed him a book

Titled “On Desert Sand, and soon he Realized despite everything

She had done well for herself.

“Thank you.” He said

As she walked out the door

On two feet that weren’t her own.
True to her word just two weeks

Later she came back to the hotel room

Where he had been staying.

Helped him gather his few belongings

And led him to her car.
“You drive?” He asked

“Yes hand controls.” She laughed.

Before long they pulled into a driveway

A tiny house

Full of all the necessary amenities.

She handed him the keys

“This is your’s.” She said

And then pointed to an F150 in the

Driveway “That’s yours too.

This isn’t a handout

But a hand up she said.

“And when you get back on your feet

You can Pay it Forward.”
He smiled at her

And said

“Once again you save my life.

Once again everything changes on a Dime.”
(C) Michelle R Kidwell


Her Secret Words Chapter Twenty One-Twenty Four

“Your not questioning whether or not you should Mary Bert are you?”

“No Mom, that’s one of the few things I am not questioning. I am questioning why a killer is still walking free.”

“Justine I have that very same question.”

“I know Mom. I am sorry for being selfish. I know I wasn’t the only one affected by what happened.”

“It’s okay sweetie, but I think this is God’s way of showing you, we must move on.”


Chapter Twenty One:
Justine contacted the police about the threatening calls, wondering if they were on the phone long enough for the tap to go through.
She hated being surrounded by Police officers all the time, but it was better than the alternative.
Truth was she was grateful for everything they were doing, but Justine would feel much better once they rescued Bert.
She prayed he was still alive, and not thrown away like some piece of trash.
She loved him, more than words could say she loved him.
All she could do was pray the feeling was mutual.
Lord I don’t know what’s happening with Bert but I know you do, so I am asking that you keep him safe. And let him know that I forgive him for the way he lied to me. I am sure he was trying to protect me, and I forgive him. I want him to know that Lord, and if I don’t get a chance to tell him, please let him not die thinking I am angry with him. Because right now that is far from the truth.
Mom I wish I would hear something about Bert. I am getting more and more worried.”
I know you are sweetie, we all are. But let’s believe it is in God’s hands.”
I know it is Mom, but I am scared.”
It’s okay to be scared sweetie, but just remember your Dad and I are here for you, and that no matter what God is with you.”
I know Mom, that is really the only thing that keeps me going.”
Don’t give up the faith Justine.”
I’m not Mom. I have no choice but to keep the faith.”
I know sweetie, and I am proud of you. I am going to believe that Bert is going to get through this okay, that we all are.”
I want to believe that too Mom, but I really am afraid. I do not want to keep living in fear like this.”
Justine I understand completely anyone would.”
I love you Mom.”
I love you too.”
Justine was thankful she had a close relationship with her Mother and Father. She was closer to her Mother than her Father, but she loved them both, and she knew they loved her too. They had been with her through the most difficult times, they had let her cry on their shoulders when she had been the one to find Brandi murdered. It had affected them all of course, but Justine was the one that had come home to that gruesome sight. The sight of her sister so brutally murdered, for secrets, she had accidentally uncovered. Secrets that someone did not want her to tell anyone about, so they silenced her for good.
I wish I could say the New Year has taken away the old fears, but I am still terrified. I am still being followed. I still can’t feel like a normal Sophomore high school student. I am not sure I will ever feel normal again. How can I when I have seen what I saw?
I know they have killed again, that girls body they dumped was not the only one. I did not see the other body dumps, because I did not see them, but I know that I happen. More families left to wonder what happened to their children. I can not even begin to imagine.
I worry for my safety, and the safety of my family. I know they have seen me with my family so they know who they are, and I think I have been followed so they know where I live. I feel like I am living the plot to a bad movie, only this is real, all to real. I want to get back to the way things were before I saw all of this, but even if I am not hurt physically the images will forever be in my head. I ask that the good Lord simply give me the strength to endure all of this.
Justine doesn’t like the way I hold things back from her. She is my big sister, and I used to tell her anything, but telling her this could be dangerous for her. I do not want to be responsible for my sisters blood, if something bad happened. I don’t even want to think like that, but I can not help it. I feel exactly like that. I wish I could tell Justine everything and somehow my big sister could make things better, but I can’t. I can’t tell anyone what I saw. I have to hide this disk so no one reads what’s on it, and what I have written in my journal. I probably shouldn’t have written this stuff down, but if I hadn’t I would explode.
I wish you had told me what you were going through Brandi. I wish you hadn’t felt the need to keep this all to yourself, but I am not mad at you for what you did. You were a strong young woman Brandi and I miss you.”
Justine was never going to stop talking to her sister, although she was long God, she still felt very connected with Brandi. And someday she would find Justine for Brandi, someday very soon. She would celebrate when that day came.
In a very real way Bert was helping to bring Justine’s killer to Justice to, she could only pray that it did not cost Bert his life. She did not want to lose the man she loved, that someday she prayed she would get to marry.
Lord I am thankful that Brandi is safe with you now, she does not have to endure the fear she felt the lass year of her life. I am glad she has the comfort of your presence and love Lord. In a way we cannot know until we get to Heaven. I am thankful she was a believer and is spending an eternity with you, and that one day we will reunite. I love you Lord, and I thank you for your many blessings. You are so good to us Lord, despite everything we have been through, or maybe because of it we are able to see that.
Justine was thankful for her ability to pray. Her relationship with the Lord. Even with the closeness of her parents, she needed that. Without the Lord she certainly wouldn’t have made it through her sisters death, she knew that, and her parents knew that. They all needed the Lord, and were blessed by the Lord. Even with not knowing what was going on with Bert, Justine was able to count her blessings. And she was trying very hard to keep the faith, that was a little difficult under the circumstances. She really had to believe Bert was going to be okay, that they were all going to be okay.
Justine I am going to help you anyway I can, and I know the police are doing everything in their power.”
I know Mom, and I am thankful for that, but I feel so helpless.”
As long as we can pray Justine, we are not helpless.”
Her Mother had said it well, but it was still hard to comprehend everything that was happening. How could the monster that had killed her sister, now have the man she loved? It really made no sense to her, but then again none of this made any sense. You can’t really make sense out of a mad man.
I know Mom, and I know that without faith I would have completely lost it long ago.”
We all would have sweetie.”
I know, and I think that’s what this monster wants us to see, he wants to see us break.”
Justine we can’t give him that kind of control.”
I am trying not to Mom, but honestly I don’t know how much more I can take.”
Give it to God Justine.”
Believe me Mom I have, a hundred times over.”
Then keep giving it to him.”

I am Mom.”
I know sweetie, and you are going to be okay.”
I wish I were as sure of that as you are.”
I am trying to be strong Lord, I really am. But sometimes I feel weak, very weak, and I am worried about Bert. What am I going to do if God forbid, they have already hurt him or worse. I know what these monsters are capable of now, I know what they have done. They killed my sister and dozes of other girls, what would one more body be to them? Bert is going to need your strength Lord I know he can’t do this on his own. No one can. I love you Lord, and I am begging you for your help.
Justine couldn’t believe the way her emotions were flip flopping the way they were. She could not understand how one minute she felt as strong as a rock and the next moment she had a million questions. She was trying to make sense of a lot of things, and the truth was many of them did not make much sense.
Once again Justine found hope in the word of the Lord. This time it was John 3, and the talk about being Born Again, she was thankful she had been just that Born Again, as had Brandi, before she had so brutally been taken from them. She prayed in this mess, that the same thing could be said for Bert.
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

John Testifies Again About Jesus
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Justine closed her Bible, thanking the Lord for his word Thanking the Lord in the midst of this madness she could find comfort in his word. She truly did have a lot to be thankful for, although lately it seemed with Bert being in danger, very real danger her vision had been clouded. She was sure the good Lord would understand, he knew her heart.
I can’t begin to imagine, the peace and love you are experiencing in Heaven Brandi. I am sure I will know it someday, but I know the good Lord has plans for me on this earth, and I want to live to fulfill those plans. I miss you though Brandi, but it would be selfish for me to wish you back to a world gone crazy.”

Chapter Twenty Two:
He couldn’t believe it, he had got out. He had no idea where to go, so he ran to the nearest home he saw. Half ran, and half crawled.
Eventually they would wake up, he was not sure if he had killed them or not, but Bert had to get help.
He needed to get to the hospital, but ne needed to get out of danger first.
If he didn’t leave the house, he would surely die.
The monsters who had killed his girlfriends sister would make sure of that.
He liked the sound of that, his girlfriend.
He wondered if it would still be true .
He prayed before he weakly knocked on the nearest door, an older couple ushered him in, calling the Paramedics right away, after he tried to explain what happened.
Right now he looked at the older couple as his guardian angels. They were literally saving his life.
Somehow he knew he was going to make it. He was going to get to tell Justine everything he wanted to tell her.
Bert was literally going to owe his life to this older couple, he had never met in his life, but somehow took him in, and got him the help he needed.
This must be what Justine must have meant when she told him, “we often entertain angels.”
It was amazing how God could use ordinary people, unsuspecting people to help work his miracles.
I can’t believe you have got me this far Lord. I am sorry I ever doubted you. I am sorry I ever questioned your existence. Once I get out of this, I want to live my life for you, and I want to Mary Justine if she will have me. I pray she will, but if she does not I will know that you are doing what is best for me. I love her though Lord, I really love her.
Bert heard the sirens pulling up, praying he would be safe. He could still see the house, the house where he had spent the past few days, tied up like an animal, tortured, beaten, shot, but by the Grace of God he had survived. It was only God who could allow that.
A few seconds before he heard the sirens pull up, he heard a car pull away, and somehow he knew someone from that house escaped. He prayed they would be caught, before anyone else was hurt. These mad men had spilled enough blood, and Bert was tired of seeing blood spilled, tired of seeing innocent people hurt.
Before the paramedics came, he had been able to leave a quick message on Justine’s machine. She was not home at the moment, and he wondered where she could be. He prayed that she had not been hurt, but he did not want to take his mind there. He wanted to believe she was going to be okay, that he was going to be okay. He had so much to tell her.
The first thing he would do was ask for her forgiveness, and tell her the way he had given his heart to Jesus. Nothing like a brush with death, to make you realize you really did need something more than yourself in this life.
Thank you Lord for letting me realize how stupid I was being, trying to go through everything alone. I know that is not what you wanted for me, and that is not what I want for myself either. I want to live my life for you Lord, whatever that means. I am new to this walk, but I am sure you will help me find my way.
A few seconds after his silent prayer, he was carted away by the paramedics, which he was grateful for, because the pain was just now really starting to hit him, and he was starting to black out. The older couple, later, he learned their names were Beth and Joseph Jones, decided to follow him to the hospital, because they couldn’t stand the thought of no one being there for him.
I am grateful that you sent me to these people Lord, these people have literally saved my life, and I ask that you keep them safe. I do not want to think that I have put them into some kind of danger, but I needed help Lord. And I felt there house was where I should go. I think you led me there Lord, in fact I am almost sure you led me there. I would not be alive if it were not for them. I am certain of them.
You were lucky, you were shot four times, but nothing hit anything vital. You will be sore for awhile, especially your shoulder, but you are going to be okay.” The doctor assured Bert.
I would say that was more than luck Doc.”
I suppose your right, it was more like a miracle. By all accounts you should be dead.”
I guess God had other plans for me.” Bert said, finding the strength to smile through the pain. It was a God thing, it had to be a God thing.
The doctor told him, they wanted him to stay in the hospital for a few days for observation, and he did not argue. The fact was right now he was probably safer in the hospital, and he was relieved because he had finally gotten in touch with Justine. She was going to come to the hospital with her Mother, her Father was on a business trip or something, but he was grateful they were coming. He had so much he needed to tell Justine, and none of it could be said over the phone.
Bert worried about Justine’s safety and that of her Mother of course, but they assured her they were going to be fine. The house where he had been held captive was empty now, one person escaped, three more severely injured, did not get out in time, and eventually died in that place. It was rather disheartening to think he had caused three deaths, but his very life had been in danger and the world was probably safer now because of it.
To these monsters though, lives were expendable, and they would just get someone else to do their dirty work. He knew this was by no means over, but one way or another they were going to win this war, and the mastermind, behind all these murders was going to go away for life, if he wasn’t killed first, but death would be to good for this monster. He needed to spend his life in solitary confinement. Forced to deal with the demons he created for himself. Forced to think of the things he had done to those girls.
What kind of monster does these things Lord?
What kind of person kills fifteen year old girls?
There were a lot of things that did not make sense at the moment.
Bert picked up the Bible he found on the hospital night stand and began to read.
He flipped to Isaiah 51, where someone had bookmark and began reading. He had never really read the Bible before, so felt this was as good of a place to start as any…
Everlasting Salvation for Zion
51 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness

and who seek the Lord:

Look to the rock from which you were cut

and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

2 look to Abraham, your father,

and to Sarah, who gave you birth.

When I called him he was only one man,

and I blessed him and made him many.

3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion

and will look with compassion on all her ruins;

he will make her deserts like Eden,

her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.

Joy and gladness will be found in her,

thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
4 “Listen to me, my people;

hear me, my nation:

Instruction will go out from me;

my justice will become a light to the nations.

5 My righteousness draws near speedily,

my salvation is on the way,

and my arm will bring justice to the nations.

The islands will look to me

and wait in hope for my arm.

6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

look at the earth beneath;

the heavens will vanish like smoke,

the earth will wear out like a garment

and its inhabitants die like flies.

But my salvation will last forever,

my righteousness will never fail.
7 “Hear me, you who know what is right,

you people who have taken my instruction to heart:

Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals

or be terrified by their insults.

8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;

the worm will devour them like wool.

But my righteousness will last forever,

my salvation through all generations.”
9 Awake, awake, arm of the Lord,

clothe yourself with strength!

Awake, as in days gone by,

as in generations of old.

Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,

who pierced that monster through?

10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,

the waters of the great deep,

who made a road in the depths of the sea

so that the redeemed might cross over?

11 Those the Lord has rescued will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.

Who are you that you fear mere mortals,

human beings who are but grass,

13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,

who stretches out the heavens

and who lays the foundations of the earth,

that you live in constant terror every day

because of the wrath of the oppressor,

who is bent on destruction?

For where is the wrath of the oppressor?

14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;

they will not die in their dungeon,

nor will they lack bread.

15 For I am the Lord your God,

who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—

the Lord Almighty is his name.

16 I have put my words in your mouth

and covered you with the shadow of my hand—

I who set the heavens in place,

who laid the foundations of the earth,

and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

The Cup of the Lord’s Wrath
17 Awake, awake!

Rise up, Jerusalem,

you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord

the cup of his wrath,

you who have drained to its dregs

the goblet that makes people stagger.

18 Among all the children she bore

there was none to guide her;

among all the children she reared

there was none to take her by the hand.

19 These double calamities have come upon you—

who can comfort you?—

ruin and destruction, famine and sword—

who can[a] console you?

20 Your children have fainted;

they lie at every street corner,

like antelope caught in a net.

They are filled with the wrath of the Lord,

with the rebuke of your God.
21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,

made drunk, but not with wine.

22 This is what your Sovereign Lord says,

your God, who defends his people:

See, I have taken out of your hand

the cup that made you stagger;

from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,

you will never drink again.

23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,

who said to you,

Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.’

And you made your back like the ground,

like a street to be walked on.”
Now Bert understand what Justine had meant when she said the Lord’s word had a way of touching you, making you feel better in the toughest of circumstances. It was talking to the Lord that had allowed him to make it away from his captors alive.
He was still worried about Justine and her Mother making it safely, but he had to give that to the Lord. He had to believe that the horror was over, that the Lord had got them this far, and would not make them suffer more now. He had to believe Justine was going to be safe, because if something happened to Justine he would never be able to forgive himself.
I know you hear my prayers Lord, you have showed me that much in the past few days, so I am asking that you keep Justine and her Mother safe. I do not want to imagine what my life would be without them. I want a chance to tell Justine how much I love her, and ask her if she will Marry me. If she doesn’t I will understand, I know I deceived her, but I have to ask.

Chapter Twenty Three:
I didn’t know if I would ever see you again.” Justine said. Not taking a moment to catch her breath.
I am still here, thanks to God.” Bert said. “I wondered myself if I would make it out of their.”
What happened?” Justine asked.
I would rather not talk about it, right now. But I am going to be okay. The doctor said the wounds were all superficial. Nothing hit any major arteries, or organs. I do have some damage to my shoulder, but that will heal.”
I am so glad you are okay.”
Me too. I have so much to tell you. Starting with I am sorry.”
Bert we don’t have to get into that right now.”
I need to apologize to you for deceiving you.”
I forgive you Bert. I want to put that behind us. I struggled with it for awhile, but the Lord gave me peace. Showed me you weren’t trying to hurt me.”
I am thankful for that, but there are a lot of things I need to tell you. I love you Justine.”
I love you too Bert.”
I mean love as in I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to Mary you.”
We talked about this before Bert, I cannot Mary someone who isn’t a question.”
That’s the other thing I want to tell you. I found the Lord, when I was being held. I would not have made it out of there if it were not for him. And a sweet older couple, but I know they were instruments of the Lord.”
I am so glad to hear you gave your heart to Jesus. I have been praying for this day for a long time.”
I know you have, and now the good Lord has answered your prayers. Now I wonder if he is going to answer mine.” Bert said grinning.
The answer is yes Bert. I will Mary you. But let’s get you out of the hospital and better first.”
Sounds good to me.”

Justine was so thankful that Bert was alive. She and her Mother found a hotel and checked in praying for their safety all the while. And Bert’s. Two of the men who had held Bert captive, and who had killed Brandi were now dead, but one was still alive, and there were more besides that. They had to have faith in the Lord, he had gotten them this far, he would get them farther.
Lord thank you for getting us this far. Thank you for letting Bert survive that horrible ordeal. I ask that you help us continue to make it, and please Lord help the monster who put all of this into action get caught. I love you Lord, and I thank you for all you have given. I know I keep asking for more, and you keep blessing me, but you know I could not deal with another loss.
Justine I think everything is going to be okay now.” Her Mom said, as they settled into their room.
I hope so Mom. I just don’t know if I will relax until that monster who did this is caught.”
It seems like none of us have been relaxing since Brandi was killed.”
I know Mom. I wish that weren’t the case. I wish Brandi had never been murdered.”
I wish the same thing Justine, but wishing isn’t going to change the facts.”
I know Mom I am sorry. I really am grateful we have gotten this far.”
So am I sweetie, and I am thankful your Bert is going to be okay.”
I am too Mom.”
You don’t act like you are celebrating to much, you were just proposed too. I am sure it was not the most romantic of proposals, but I would think you would be happier than you are right now.”
I am happy Mom, but so much has happened in the past few days. I feel like I am just now stopping to catch my breath.”
I understand sweetie.”
Thank you Mom.”
Your welcome sweetie, and I am praying that this monster is caught.”
I know you are Mom, and I appreciate that.”
I know you do sweetie.”
Justine was thankful for her Mother, and all her support. She knew her Mom was right, she really did need to take the time to thank the good Lord that they had made it this far. The Lord had seen them through a lot and she knew that, but sometimes she got to thinking about Brandi and just couldn’t make sense of that. She knew she needed to let some of her emotions go, but her sisters death, and now what had happened with Bert was hard to deal with.
At least Bert is alive, at least he made it.
I know I need to be more thankful Lord, thank you for letting me get this far, and please forgive me for being out of sorts. The past few days have been very difficult beyond difficult. I have felt like I have been living a ten day nightmare. Actually a ten year nightmare. I have felt like I have been living a nightmare since I found Brandi killed. I know it’s been ten years Lord, but that still affects me.
Justine decided instead of sulking any longer, she was going to take the time to read the word. She was going to try and spend some time in the Word.
Justine opened her Bible to Romans 12:
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Justine felt better after time in the word, and was soon able to get some rest. She needed rest, she felt like she had been running on adrenaline for the past ten days, now that Bert was safe in the hospital, now that she knew he was going to be okay. She could rest. She fell asleep, feeling a small measure of joy in the fact that Bert had asked her to Mary him. She could not wait until they were married, but she wanted to give Bert a chance to get out of the hospital, and get back home first.
Chapter Twenty Four:
Justine could not help but think about how her sister may have been the one getting married by now, may have survived. She wished things would have been different for Brandi, that she would not have been murdered, but she realized it was time to move on with her life. Bert had asked for her hand in marriage and she had accepted. She was in love, and the truth was it felt good. It was better than the way she had felt before Bert had come into her life. In a very real well the Lord had used Bert to save her. She was thankful that the Lord had sent Bert into her life, despite the circumstances. She had not believed that this friendship would turn into a love and eventually a marriage, but that is what had happened. God had a way of working in people’s lives unexpectedly.
Lord I really am blessed. I see that, but I still struggle with the feelings of grief for what happened to Brandi, but I guess you know that. You are helping me overcome though, and I know she would not want me to wallow in misery. Before all of this happened, she had been so happy and bubbly.
Justine I am happy for you. I have wanted to see you happily married for awhile.”
I know you have Mom, and I really do think I am going to be happy with Bert. I just want his shoulder to heal more, before we set dates.”
You could set the date for a few weeks from now if you want Justine, he will be nicely healed by then.”
I don’t know Mom, the truth is I am nervous.”
I understand sweetie, but it’s going to be okay.”
I know it will Mom. I guess the jitters are normal, but it’s more than that. The monsters who hurt Brandi, and took Bert are still on the lose.”
Justine I believe they will be caught.”
I want to believe that too. But the truth is I am having trouble.”
Lord give me the strength I need, and help me to see that something is going to be done about these men, these monsters who murdered Brandi and hurt Bert. I cannot keep feeling the fear like this, and I am not sure if it’s going to stop until these monsters are caught. Lord I know you have the power to make this happen. I thank you Lord for hearing my prayers.
Your not questioning whether or not you should Mary Bert are you?”
No Mom, that’s one of the few things I am not questioning. I am questioning why a killer is still walking free.”

Justine I have that very same question.”
I know Mom. I am sorry for being selfish. I know I wasn’t the only one affected by what happened.”
It’s okay sweetie, but I think this is God’s way of showing you, we must move on.”
I think your right Mom.”
Justine was thankful for her Mother, and her support. Thankful that they had a few days together, the circumstances were certainly not the way they wanted, but at least Bert was alive, and would be going home. They did have reason to celebrate though Bert was going to be fine, they were all going to be heading back home. The drive home made them all nervous, but they would make the trip with the good Lord’s help.
The Lord had got them this far, she had to believe that they would all get home safely. The Lord would guide their path, and protect them.
First they would have to make a stop and pick up Brandi’s journal, the one that Bert had said he had discarded. He had a vague idea of where it could be, and Justine had to find it. She needed that journal to understand more of what her sister had gone through, the journal held details that the disk did not. She needed to know more about what had happened before her sister was murdered.
I don’t want to put others in danger Lord, but I need Brandi’s journal, and if that journal falls into the wrong hands it could be even more dangerous. I just want the journal Lord, and I want this ten year old nightmare to be over. Ten years is a long time to be living a nightmare.
The Lord blessed Justine of course and she knew that. Sometimes she felt selfish when she asked him for more, but she could not spend her entire life living in the shadow of her dead sister. A shadow she had put herself in granted, no one else had done it. She had carried the guilt, like it was a scar that she could never let go of, but now it was time to let go of a lot of things. Guilt being only one of them.
She was tired of feeling guilty for something she could not help. Tired of not having answers to the questions she had asked thousands of times.
It was time to focus on her blessings not the negative things. Justine knew that. She knew it was time to get on with her life.
Justine opened her Bible once again, thanking God for his word. Sometimes that was the only thing that saw her through reading his word.
Psalm 103 spoke to Justine’s heart this day.
Of David.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

3 who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,

his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,

nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for he knows how we are formed,

he remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass,

they flourish like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,

and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting

the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,

and his righteousness with their children’s children—

18 with those who keep his covenant

and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,

and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his bidding,

who obey his word.

21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,

you his servants who do his will.

22 Praise the Lord, all his works

everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Justine put her Bible away. Thankful for the Lord, and all he had done for her. Reading the word brought her a sense of peace, unlike nothing else. It was a blessing being able to live for the Lord.

After spending time in the word and in prayer, Justine and her Mother packed up there suitcases, and went to go pick up Bert. They were finally going home, after they found that journal and they prayed they would be able to find and find safely. The journal meant a lot to Justine, because it would be like having a little piece of her sister with her.
Ready to get out of here?” Justine asked.
I am more than ready to get out of here.”
Let’s get you released, and we can head out of here.”
After we stop to get the journal.” Bert said.
Yes after that, are you sure you are up to it?”
I am more than up to it sweetie. If it gets me out of the hospital. I am up to it.”
Lord thank you for letting Bert be okay. I know that you have blessed us by getting us this far, and you have spared Bert. You know how much he means to me Lord, and I am more than thankful for that. I am thankful that I get a chance to Mary the man of my dreams Lord, because you let him survive his horrible ordeal. I ask that you continue to bless us, and allow us to make it to our wedding without any more drama. I love you Lord and I thank you.

Her Secret Words Chapters Fourteen Through Twenty

The line went dead. And Justine was once again left with her fears.

She hated the mind games these monsters were playing.

Lord I want this nightmare to be over. I want to get back to living, living without fear. I forget what that’s like.


Chapter Fourteen:
I am scared, scared of everything that is about to happen. I wish I had never stumbled on that place, and what they were doing to those girls. I think I put myself in danger here, and I may have put my family in danger as well.
They know what I saw. I have been getting threats, through email. They are trying to hide who these threats are coming from. But I know it’s them I know they saw what I saw.
Justine couldn’t believe she had been so blind. As she read her sisters words, ten years later, she was starting to see how things went down. Perhaps if she had known what was going on before, her sister would be alive. Perhaps she shouldn’t feel guilty.
Maybe she should just let the past stay in the past. But her sister was murdered, and because of that she could not leave that in the past. She had to find out the answers. She needed to have closure, and more than anything she needed to have her sisters killer behind bars.
Ten years since Brandi was murdered, and still her killer was walking free. None of this made sense to her, how could guilty people, people who caused so much pain be allowed to go free? How could they be allowed to destroy more lives. That is exactly what they were doing.
Justine opened her Bible to Romans 11 searching for comfort in the word. She had barely been able to sleep since she got the call and heard him being taken. She knew the person that had killed her sister now had Bert. She did not want even to begin to imagine what Bert was being put through. She did not want to think that he could be dead, but his mind went there.
11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written:
God gave them a spirit of stupor,

eyes that could not see

and ears that could not hear,

to this very day.”[c]
9 And David says:
May their table become a snare and a trap,

a stumbling block and a retribution for them.

10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,

and their backs be bent forever.”[d]

Ingrafted Branches
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

All Israel Will Be Saved
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
The deliverer will come from Zion;

he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

27 And this is[f] my covenant with them

when I take away their sins.”[g]
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments,

and his paths beyond tracing out!

34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been his counselor?”[j]

35 “Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay them?”[k]

36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Justine did find comfort in the word, she always did, but she also knew that she needed to do something. She felt like she was sitting on her hands. She had felt that way since Brandi’s murder, and the fact was she did not like feeling this way. She wanted to be able to put this all behind her, but she would not do that until Brandi was truly put to rest. She had been buried ten years ago, but she wouldn’t be put to rest until her killers paid for their crimes, and were made to stop killing.
The more she looked at the disk and read what her sister had written, the more she did not understand how no one really saw anything. They all knew Brandi was acting strange, but thought it was simply a phase or something. Ten years later, Justine was starting to see the Hell her sister had been going through for the last year of her life. Her fifteen year old sister, who should have been worrying about first crushes, and highschool football screams, but instead was facing this kind of hell.
Brandi why didn’t you tell us what you were going through? Maybe if you had told us, you could help you. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”
Justine did not really want to put the blame on her dead sister. The fact was no one but the killer was to blame. Justine just wanted answers, her parents may have tried to put this all behind them, but the fact was even they hadn’t. They tried to pretend, put on pretenses, but no one could really move on from something like this. You did not just get over someone you loved being so brutally murdered.
I wish you would have told us Brandi. I wish you hadn’t had to carry a burden like this for so long. I cannot even imagine what you have been going through.”
Lord I need help through this. I know that more than me though Bert needs help. He must be so lost right now, and wondering why this was happening . I know I have witnessed to him many times in the past ten years, but I am praying right now that he takes what I said to heart. I am praying that he makes it through this. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
Justine took a few moments to pray, before putting her Bible away, and turning on the television. She wanted something to block out her thoughts, but the fact with nothing was going to help with that. She wanted to feel less alone, but the television wouldn’t do that. She needed Bert to come home, to be safe, get her sisters journal, and take it to the police. And wait for justice to be done
Thank you Lord, I am feeling so alone, I have so many questions, but I don’t have enough answers Lord. I love you Lord, and I thank you.

Chapter Fifteen:
She lay on the floor, her once blonde hair, red with blood. The damage unlike anything I had never seen before.
My sister was dead. My fifteen year old sister, shot execution style, and I had come home to find the carnage. I was scared of course, but more than anything I felt sick.
Who does this to a fifteen year old?
I had come back from morning classes, had a three hour break between the next class, and wanted to go home, get a bite to eat, but I did not imagine this. I did not imagine coming home to a dead sister, and having the last picture of her to be one so gruesome.
Justine could not get that day out of her mind no matter how hard she tried. She could not erase the horrific image from her eyes, but she doing her best to move on from it. Ten years later it was still strong, still unimaginable. Now Bert was at the hands of the monsters, the monsters that had done such horrific things to her sister.
Lord please keep him safe I can not face another funeral, someone I love dying. I do not want to have to another funeral Lord. I don’t think my heart could deal with that. It was shattered when my sister was murdered, I don’t know if it could take anymore.
Justine thought to herself how some people thought 10 years was a lifetime, but the ten years from her sisters death seemed like yesterday. The pain was very real, she was healing, emotionally, but she would never completely get over her sister being murdered, and what she had saw that night. You just don’t get over something like that.
It was hard to wrap her mind around all that was happening, and how Bert was connected to all of that. Right now she did not have time to worry about that though, instead she had to worry about how to get Bert away from those monsters, and still keep her parents and herself safe. She knew she was in danger. Someone was following her, that Black SVU, seemed to follow her wherever she went. The vehicle remind her of the cars the FBI used, but she knew this was not the FBI. Someone dangerous was after her, her sisters killer. The fact was they had been after her for years, the only reason they hadn’t killed her yet, was that journal. Right now she had no idea where that journal was.
She had finally made her way back to the police station, with the disk, after she had transferred the contents onto her computer, because something compelled her to read her sisters words. It was almost a way of bringing her back to life for a short time. Of course it was not the same thing, she missed her sister like crazy. Had for the ten years since she had found her sisters body, in the bedroom. Justine still could not go into her sisters room, without that image going through her mind. About five years ago they had changed her old bedroom into a study, but that would never stop Justine from seeing her sister laying dead on the floor, shot by some monster.
Brandi I can not even begin to imagine what you went through the last moments of your life. How afraid you must have been! I wish I had been able to save you, to help you in someways. I still hold guilt for not being able to do that.”
One day Justine would meet her sister again in paradise, she believed that with her whole heart, but for the moment, she had to settle for talking to the air as if her sister was there. Somehow it made her feel a little better, so she did it. Just not in front of others.
When Justine had left the disk with the police, she had been scared, because of the SVU following her, but that was nothing compared to the fear she imagined her sister must have felt the night she was killed, or the way Bert must feel now.
Lord I love Bert, I really do, please don’t let anything happen to him.
Maybe she should have never told him about her need to find her sisters killer. If Justine hadn’t Bert may not be in danger now. She couldn’t live on what if’s and should have, and shouldn’t have’s, none of that would change the situation. She needed to focus on how to get Bert home safely, they could deal with everything else later.
Lord why did I have to drag him into this?
The fact was she hadn’t drug him in, he had kind of inserted him into the equation. And in doing so they had fallen in love. Justine was sure that was probably not the end goal, but that was what had happened.
You don’t just plan on falling in love. Sometimes it just happens, but right now Justine worried that there fallen in love, could have put Bert in danger. Could that be the reason they had gone after Bert?
Had they found the journal?
Was Bert Okay?
Justine had so many questions, but not enough answers. She wanted to know Bert was safe, but how could she know, if he was safe or alive, or even where he was.
Justine did what she often did when she felt alone, full of questions. She opened her Bible and spent some time in the word. This time she turned Hebrews 6 and began reading.
6 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

The Certainty of God’s Promise
13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”[d] 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
After a few minutes in the word and prayer, she went back to the files she had downloaded onto her computer. It was a miracle, these files that were over ten years old were even readable, but she was grateful they were. She was hearing from her sister, even though her sister had been dead for ten years.
Thank you Lord for technology, for allowing me to better understand what Brandi went through in the last year of her life. Thank you for letting me be able to use technology, to try and make better sense of things, not that having your sister murdered when she was fifteen ever makes any sense.
Justine still fought with the images of that day. She still had nightmares, who wouldn’t? It had been getting better, but on the tenth anniversary of her sister’s death, they had come back with a vengeance.
There was blood, so much blood.
It stained the carpet, caked on her head.

I had never seen anything like this.
Instinctively I knew my sister was dead. Murdered. I just did not understand why.
I won’t ever understand why.
How do you ever understand murder? Especially the murder of a fifteen year old girl? It had only been a few years ago that she and I were playing dolls. I was older, but I played dolls with Brandi, because that was what she liked doing.
Now she was murdered.
Dead, her sister was dead, only fifteen and she was dead.
Someone she knew had to do it, she would not let a stranger in. The thought was sobering. Someone they knew had killed Brandi.
But who did she know that would kill her?
Justine came back to reality when her phone rang. Came back to now, instead of the past.
Lord let it be Bert, let me know it’s going to be okay. I need to know he is okay Lord. I am not ready to face more pain.
Justine looked at the clock. It was late, her parents wouldn’t call her this late, if it weren’t important. Maybe something had happened, she certainly prayed that wasn’t the case. She worried about her parents often.
She picked up the phone, not knowing who would be on the other end. Praying for a familiar voice.
We have him, so you better do what we say. We want that disk, and we want the journal.”
I don’t know what your talking about.”
Yes you do, what do you take me for stupid? I will make your boyfriend die, the way I made your sister if you don’t do what I say.”
There’s a tap on my phone Lord, please let the police be able to trace this call.
Why are you doing this to me? What did my sister ever do to you?”
She stuck her nose where it didn’t belong.”
She was only fifteen.”

Justine heard a gunshot in the background. She hadn’t told him what he wanted to know. Was Bert dead now? She could only pray he wasn’t.
Chapter Sixteen:
You shot me.” Bert screamed.
I warned your girlfriend, she is going to be next.”
You have me, why do you need her?”
Because I don’t want her finding out what her sister found out. I am not going to be put away.”
Oh yes you will if I have my way. Lord help me to bring this man down.
This is only a taste of what’s to come if you do not start talking.”
I have nothing to say.”
You’re a fool.”
No you are the fool, thinking that you can get away with killing people to get what you want. Killing young girls because you are afraid of being found out, your nothing more than a coward.”
By this time Bert was in so much agony, that tears were coming down his eyes. He had been shot in the knee cap, likely not a fatal injury, but he was in agony. It wasn’t only the bullet, but all the beatings. The fact was he did not know how much more he could take. He wanted this to be over, wanted to be back with Justine, and forget all of this. Of course this wasn’t something he was likely to forget.
He had to fight though, fight for himself, but more than that he had to fight for Justine. He needed to somehow make sure he was safe, but how could he do that, when a monster had him captive. He somehow needed to break free, but he was hurt, and he had no way out.
Lord you are going to have to help me get out of this. I can’t do this alone. I love you Lord, I know I haven’t showed you that, for awhile I denied your very existence, but Lord now I know your real. I wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for you Lord. You have given me the energy to get me this far, and I appreciate that Lord. I appreciate everything you have done for me.
Justine had heard the gunshots, Bert knew his captor had called Justine, he had no idea where he had gotten the number, he had dumped his phone, and brought nothing with information about her on it. He had to keep Justine safe, but somehow the monsters had found her number anyway.
This is all so unreal. I feel like I am in a plot to some made for tv movie, or something, but this is really happening. And I am feeling real fear Lord, unlike anything I have ever felt.
Bert had no idea how he was going to get out of this, but one way or another he was determined to do just that. He did not want to sit around, waiting to die. He had to figure out away to start fighting back.
This monster couldn’t watch him twenty four seven, he had to leave him sometime. It was time that Bert started thinking because the fact was if he didn’t figure something out soon, he would be dead. He was as certain of that, as he was of his name.
I need your help to do this Lord. I really can not do this on my own. I know that now, I am just sorry it took me so long to realize that Lord. It took me this to realize that. Keep Justine safe Lord. I could not handle anything happening to her. I need her Lord, and I need you. Thank you.
Bert sat in silence for awhile. Listening as the monsters in the other room made plans, and talked about how to get rid of him. He wanted to be able to find something and hit him over the head, but he was bound and was not going anywhere right away. He was going to figure something out though, and pray it did not get him killed. Actually death would have probably been preferable to living in the kind of fear, these monsters were putting him in. It would have been better, than being tortured the way he was being tortured, the mental torture was worse than the physical.
They were playing mind games with him, seeing how far they could bend him before he broke. Bert was staring to see that, and if he knew what they were doing, perhaps he could outsmart them. Play them at their own game. He was going to do his best, to make sure he got out of this okay, that he got reunited with Justine. He loved Justine, and he wanted a chance to explain things to her. Justine deserved an explanation and so much more.
Lord please give me a chance to explain things to Justine. I love you Lord, and I love her, and I am going to need a second chance. I know I probably screwed up, in fact I know I have for the past ten years I have been lying to Justine, lying by omission and I know she deserves better than that. I need your help Lord.
You are going to spill it now. Where is that journal, and that disk?”
I told you I didn’t know, that hasn’t changed.”
And I told you I know your lying. I am going to have your girlfriend shot.”
You’re a coward going after woman the way you do.”
You are in no position to call me a coward.”
Another shot fired. Ricocheting off the ceiling. Bert was helpless to do anything. All he could do was pray that he wasn’t hit. He was not about to die this way. He wasn’t going to give the monster that kind of satisfaction. He had to fight, for Justine’s sake he had to fight. Justine was going to need to have him explain things to her, and he could not do that if he were dead.

Chapter Seventeen:
Lord is Bert safe?
Is he hurt?
I have so many questions Lord, but no answers.
Justine was still trying to process everything. Trying to understand what was going on. She was going to wake up from this nightmare. Right?
Only this wasn’t a nightmare, and Justine knew that, this all tied to her sisters death ten years ago.
Ten long years since she had come home to find her sister shot execution style in her bedroom. By an unknown monster, only now it was looking more and more like it was somebody they knew.
But who would kill a child, a girl of only fifteen?
She had never imagined something like this would hit so close to home until it did.
Ten years ago. She had been faced with the fact that bad thing did and could happen to people you loved. It had happened to her sister.
Murdered. Even now that word was hard to swallow.
She wanted to think of something else, anything else other than this. She wanted to clear her mind for a few moments, so Justine did what she so often did, when she needed to get away. She turned to her Bible, at least this way she was growing closer to God.
Justine opened her Bible to Galatians 5…
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Justine felt better after reading the word. She was thankful for what the good Lord gave her the strength she needed to get through this, even though at the moment she did not exactly feel like she was getting through it. She just felt very lost and alone, and afraid. Afraid more for Bert than herself.
Lord let Bert be okay, let him make it through this Lord. I do not want to lose him, I am not ready to let him go.
After she finished reading the word, and praying for Bert she decided to call the police station. She wanted to see if they had gotten anywhere on the case. It did not matter that it had been less than 48 hours since, she had dropped off that disk, she still needed to know. She had been feeling helpless for the past ten years, she wanted to start taking her life back.
Justine was still scared though, scared of the black SVU, that was following her whenever she left the house. She had called the police, but nothing could really be done. She just prayed she did not become a victim like her sister had. If they thought she knew something the people that had killed her sister and were holding Bert hostage, would have no problem with killing her. She knew these people were heartless.
I want to make it Lord. I want to get out of this in one peace. I want to get on with my life Lord, but more than anything I want Bert to be safe. Please don’t let them hurt him, let him make it out of this okay Lord. I love you and I thank you.
A few seconds after getting off the phone to the police station, she heard her window shatter. Justine knew who it was right away, it was the same people who were following her around in the SVU, but nothing was being done about it. The last time she had felt this scared was when she had found her sister.
The fact that she had no one she could do to about her problems, was hard enough. Of course she had the good Lord, and she turned to him, but Justine wanted to be able to talk to someone. She would normally talk to Bert, she felt easy opening up to him, but they had him now, the monsters who had killed her sister. She was sure it was them, it was all tied back to her sisters death, ten years ago.
We must be getting closer to the truth, if they are taking chances like this. If they have taken Bert. For ten years there had been nothing, at least in the way of personal attacks, and now this.
When Justin got to the living room, she saw her front window had been shattered, by a large rock, with the words your next painted on it. She called the police praying that maybe now something would be done. She was getting tired of sitting on her hands. It felt like everyone was acting like she was panicked and maybe she was, but she had a good reason to be. Someone was trying to kill her.
This is like a nightmare Lord. A horrible nightmare. I am tired of living like this. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
Justine called her parents to make sure they were okay. She did not want to tip them off, that anything was wrong. They did not need to worry needlessly, and she did not want to put them in any more danger than they were already in. If something she did brought danger to her family she would never be able to forgive herself, but she could not just sit around doing nothing. She needed to find Bert, and then she needed to make sure her sisters killer did not see the light of day again. The killer deserved to be locked up in a prison cell for the rest of their lives. In solitary, where they were forced to think about what they had done. Death was to easy for a monster like this.
I need your help to get out of this Lord. I love you and I praise you, but right now I really need your help. Thank you Lord for getting me this far, but I need the strength to go farther.
When her Mother answered and assured her everything was good. They would be going out to dinner later that night, and had invited Justine along. Perhaps going would be a good idea, she needed to get out of the house, but it was hard to think about doing anything normal, when the monsters who killed her sister had Bert. At times she felt like she was living a nightmare. But this was reality, she could not wake up from this nightmare, because it was reality.
Are you okay Justine?” Her Mother asked.
Yes I am.” She said, but the truth was, she knew her Mother knew better than that. She was far from okay. She was worried about the safety of Bert but she could not tell her Mother about that without endangering her.
Just pushing a deadline.” She said. It was only partly the truth. She was due to have an article in, but that was not what was worrying her. She was scared for her life, and the life of Bert.
Maybe she should tell her Mother, tell her about everything. Maybe it would be better that way.
I don’t know what to do Lord, the fact is I am scared. I know I shouldn’t be scared, or maybe I should be, the fact is I do not know what I should or shouldn’t be. I just want to get on with my life. I want to live a normal life again. I am tired of living in the shadow of my sisters murder. I feel so bad for what happened to her. I won’t ever be able to get the picture of my sisters murdered body out of my mind. I found her Lord, and my heart still breaks over that. I am still trying to make sense of this Lord. I don’t think it is possible to make sense of murder though, especially like this. I love you Lord, and I thank you for hearing my prayers.
Justine I have seen you when you were rushed because of a deadline this isn’t that.” Her Mother said. “You’re an adult, so I am going to leave it be, but please know you can turn to me if you need anything.” She was reassured. The fact was though she was afraid for her parents, if she told them they would be in danger.
I am okay Mom. I guess I am just letting things get to me.”
Does this have to with Bert? I haven’t seen him around for a few days.”
He went away on business I am expecting him back any time now.”
Good, you seem a lot happier when he is around, and he really does seem like a good guy.”
Mom you don’t know the half of it, the truth is, neither do I. I don’t know what’s going on, all I know is that Bert is in danger, and I am afraid for him. I know I should leave it in your hands Lord, but I really am terrified, and I guess it is starting to show. I don’t know how much more I can take Lord, I need your help. In Jesus name amen.

Chapter Eighteen:
Justine’s lines now had a tap on them, in case Bert should call. More than anything she wanted Bert to call. Perhaps if he did they could trace the call, and get the location to where they had Bert. She wanted more than anything for the cops to find Bert, and get him to safety, and to see the monster who had killed her sister and now taken Bert locked away forever.
When the monsters who had taken her sisters life and destroyed her family were taken away, then maybe she could get back to living a normal life. She wanted to live a normal life. Not live in constant fear.
To calm her fears once again Justine turned to her Bible, searching for comfort in his word. Today she turned to Isaiah 43:
Israel’s Only Savior
43 But now, this is what the Lord says—

he who created you, Jacob,

he who formed you, Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I give Egypt for your ransom,

Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you,

I will give people in exchange for you,

nations in exchange for your life.

5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

I will bring your children from the east

and gather you from the west.

6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’

and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’

Bring my sons from afar

and my daughters from the ends of the earth—

7 everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made.”
8 Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,

who have ears but are deaf.

9 All the nations gather together

and the peoples assemble.

Which of their gods foretold this

and proclaimed to us the former things?

Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,

so that others may hear and say, “It is true .”

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,

and my servant whom I have chosen,

so that you may know and believe me

and understand that I am he.

Before me no god was formed,

nor will there be one after me.

11 I, even I, am the Lord,

and apart from me there is no savior.

12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—

I, and not some foreign god among you.

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.

13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he.

No one can deliver out of my hand.

When I act, who can reverse it?”

God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness
14 This is what the Lord says—

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

For your sake I will send to Babylon

and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,[b]

in the ships in which they took pride.

15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,

Israel’s Creator, your King.”
16 This is what the Lord says—

he who made a way through the sea,

a path through the mighty waters,

17 who drew out the chariots and horses,

the army and reinforcements together,

and they lay there, never to rise again,

extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

18 “Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland.

20 The wild animals honor me,

the jackals and the owls,

because I provide water in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland,

to give drink to my people, my chosen,

21 the people I formed for myself

that they may proclaim my praise.
22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,

you have not wearied yourselves for[c] me, Israel.

23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,

nor honored me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with grain offerings

nor wearied you with demands for incense.

24 You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,

or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.

But you have burdened me with your sins

and wearied me with your offenses.
25 “I, even I, am he who blots out

your transgressions, for my own sake,

and remembers your sins no more.

26 Review the past for me,

let us argue the matter together;

state the case for your innocence.

27 Your first father sinned;

those I sent to teach you rebelled against me.

28 So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple;

I consigned Jacob to destruction[d]

and Israel to scorn.
The last few days since Bert’s capture had been crazy, it felt like she had no time to just spend on doing normal things her mind was on Bert 24/7. She was in love, and a monster had him. She did not even want to think about what she would do if something were to happen to him. She did not want to take her mind to that place. She had to believe that Bert was going to be okay, that one way or another they were going to make it.
They had so much to talk about when Bert was freed from those monsters, so many things to set straight. She wanted to know why he had lied to her all these years, but she also needed to tell her how she felt about him. The fact was she wanted to Mary the man.
I am in love Lord, it took me a long time to realize that, but I really am in love. I want to live for you Lord, so I cannot Mary him if he is not a Christian, but I do love you Lord. I praise you, and I thank you. I know you will help me to see what is right for me. I really know I have been asking a lot of you lately Lord, but you are an all powerful Lord, and I want to praise you for that. I want to praise you for all you have given me,
Justine did not like to be so evasive to her parents the way she had been for the past week and a half. By now they knew that something was going on, they had been contacted by the police. But Justine did not really go into details, she did not really know any details to go into. She longed to know more herself, but it was hard when nothing was known. She had not heard from Bert’s captors in days, and she could only pray the unthinkable had not happened. She was in no way ready to face another loss. She did not want to let her mind go there, but it had, and she hated to think about it.
I’m sorry Mom, I know I should have told you everything, but I really couldn’t.”
I understand sweetie, but I want you to be careful.”
I am being as careful as I can.” Justine promised. Her Mother did not have to finish the statement, because she knew it was because she could not face buying another child.
I know you are sweetie, I do not know why you didn’t tell us sooner.”
I was trying to protect you and Dad.”
By keeping us in the dark sweetie. I would have broken if something happened to you.”
I know Mom, I really am sorry.”
Is Bert okay?”
I want to say yes Mom, but the truth is I don’t know.”
Your Dad and I are praying.”
Thank you Mom, that means more than you know.”
I love you Justine, I do not want anything happening to you. It about killed your Father and I when Brandi was killed. You kept us going.”
I think it shook all of us Mom, it made us realize just how fragile life is. I still am affected by what happened to Brandi.”
I know you are sweetie, everything you do is driven by that. I can see that.”
I wish it weren’t that way Mom, sometimes I really wish it weren’t. I wish I hadn’t come home to find Brandi the way I did, or those monsters hadn’t got her, but they did, and even now I feel so guilty about that.”
You have no reason to feel guilty sweetie. What you went through is hard. I know in a way it was worse for you, because you found her. I wish you hadn’t saw what you saw, but you did, and I know that makes it hard. I don’t know if I could be as strong as you are.”
Mom I don’t really feel all that strong, even ten years later, what happened makes me feel so broken. I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish I had come home earlier.”
If you had Justine, then we may have had to bury two daughters. Your Father and I wouldn’t have made it through losing both of you.”
I know Mom, I just wish I could have done more.”
We all do sweetie, but for some reason Brandi is with the Lord now. I know we will see her again one day, and that gives me comfort.”
It gives me comfort too Mom. I wouldn’t make it, if it weren’t for that fact. And I don’t know if I am going to be able to make it through this.”
Lord thank you for giving me such wonderful parents. They have helped me through so much, and now they are helping me through this. I love you Lord, and I thank you for all you have given me. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
I am glad you made it sweetie, your Father and I really love you. You know that. I know it seems we have all grown more distant in some ways, but our love for you has never changed. If we ever made you think that. I love you Justine, and I am going to do my best to help you in anyway I can. I know I didn’t want you digging up what happened, but I know now your right, we have to look into what happened to your sister to find the answers, and to make sure the monsters who did this pay. I don’t want these people hurting anyone else.”
Thank you Mom for understanding, I am sorry that I had to be so evasive with you at first. I just really thought I was protecting you and Dad.”
Just remember sweetie, we never want you to have to go through this alone. We want you to know that no matter what we are your parents, we love you and we want to do everything we can to help you.”
I know Mom, and I am sorry I did not give you that chance until now. I just did not want to upset you. I remember how upset you got when I told you I was going to look for Brandi’s journal.”
I was just afraid, afraid that you would be hurt or worse.”
I understand that now Mom. I guess I just really wasn’t thinking it through at the time.”

It’s okay sweetie, let’s just start over. If you need me, I just want you to remember I am here for you, and the same is true for your Dad.”
I know Mom, and I appreciate that more than I can tell you.”
I know you do sweetie, and we appreciate you too.”
I love you.”
I love you too.”
Chapter Nineteen:
There was blood dripping from him.
Was the blood his, or his captors?
Had he killed them, or was he dying?
He needed to get out of here, but he had been shot and barely could move, and he did not know if his captors were still alive.
If they weren’t dead by now, then surely they would come after him, and finish him off.
Lord I don’t know what’s going on, if I killed them or not, but I need the strength to get out of here, and get help. I know I need medical help but before that I need to get to the police. I need to make sure Justine is okay. I can not bear to think about what might be happening to her, how afraid she might be. Lord I need strength.
Bert had done more praying in the past few days then he had in his entire life. He was in a way growing closer to God in the midst of this tragedy, this craziness. He was thankful something good was coming out of all this craziness, but none of that would matter if he was dead. He had to make it out of this nightmare alive, and talk to Justine. He owed Justine that much.
Lord I need your help to get out of this. I need to get back to my life, and I need to see those monsters put away. The things they did to Justine’s sister and all those other girls. Forgive me Lord for not speaking up sooner. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
Bert was tired of sitting on his hands, feeling helpless. He knew he had to be careful, but sitting around waiting to die wasn’t exactly being careful, it was giving up. He did not want to give up, he had to much to live for. Justine came to mind. He loved her, and he needed to tell her how he really felt about her.
I wish I had the faith Justine has Lord. I wish I could just pray, and believe everything was going to be okay, but I have so many questions, more questions than I can even put into words. Justine has such an absolute faith in you Lord, and I still have so many questions Lord. I really don’t know much of anything. Thank you Lord for listening to me.
Bert managed to crawl out of the room, each move caused agony, but he had to get out of here. He had found a phone and dialed the police, but he did not know when they were coming. He could hear someone stirring, and he felt the fear run through him, but he could not give up. He was going to get out of here, or die trying.
He couldn’t help but wonder what Justine was doing. How she was doing? He wanted to be with her, and he was doing everything in her power to make sure that he got out of there, if he did not he would certainly die trying.
Bert had no intention on dying at the hands of these monsters. He was going to make it, and tell Justine of his new found relationship with Christ, and eventually after he explained everything, he would someone find the courage to pop the question, and pray that Justine said yes. If she did not, he would try to understand, especially after all the lies he had told her. The half truths, maybe she would be afraid to love him.
He could hear stirring, and moans, were they his own, or were the monsters he shot starting to come through?
He was tired and weak, not knowing if he could make it, without alerting others, without waking them up. If they woke up, he would be in danger.
He was already in danger, but at least with them unconscious he had a chance to get help.
Perhaps he could lead the cops to them.
He would refuse treatment until he could do just that, or at least make sure they knew exactly where to go.
He really did need to get to a hospital, if he wanted to make it through this.
Bert had been carrying so much fear, and burden before he gave his heart to the Lord. In a way he was thankful that he had the wake up call that had drove him to the arms of the Lord, but it was frightening. Frightening being stuck in a house with monsters who wanted to kill you. Bert was not ready to die, he was ready to live. Ready to live for the Lord, and ready to show Justine how he really felt about her.
The fact was he was in love. Head over heels in love, to the very person he had been deceiving the person he loved. He hated the way he had been lying to her. He had tried to rationalize it at first, but now he knew he should have been honest with her from the start. He should have told her what he knew, but he knew that he had hurt her. He had hurt her in the very ways he had been trying to protect her.
Forgive me Lord for lying to Justine the way I did, and help her find it in her heart to forgive me. I know I do not deserve forgiveness for the way I was treated. I love you Lord, and I know I do not deserve all that I am asking for, but it is not for me but for Justine she has been hurt enough in her life, and I know I was some of the cause of that hurt. If she and I are not meant to be, please show me that Lord, but I really have fallen in love with her, and I want to be able to spend the rest of our lives together. I don’t know how she will feel about this Lord, so I ask that you please help her. In Jesus name Amen.

Chapter Twenty:
Justine felt better now that she had told her parents what was going on. She hated keeping secrets from them, and now she was starting to see they really did need to know. Perhaps not telling them had not been the safest of ideas, at least this way they could be prepared if the monsters did come after them. Perhaps if Brandi had been more prepared she would still be alive.
She felt a little better, but the fact was Justine was still afraid. Afraid of what was happening to Bert. She hated not knowing if he was dead or alive, if those monsters had killed him or not. She did not want to lose him, the fact was she loved him, and if everyone came out of this in one piece she was going to tell him exactly that.
As she so often did Justine turned to the word for comfort, for understanding. She could not get through this without the Lord. And she wondered how Bert was managing, maybe something positive would come out of this hell? Maybe he would see his need for Christ’s love, and stop trying to act is he was invincible?
Today she read from Romans 12, once again finding comfort in the word.
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Justine was thankful she had taken the time to explain things to her parents, and thankful that no matter what they had her back. She knew she was blessed to have such caring parents. After Brandi was murdered they had been a bit overprotective, but considering what everyone had been through she couldn’t really blame them. Whenever she was blessed with children, if she was blessed with children, she would probably be the same way. She knew that even idyllic lives came to an end when violence entered the picture.
I don’t know if I will ever understand the hate and the violence in this world Lord. That is what makes me almost afraid to have children of my own, but I have spent my life wanting a family. I would name my first daughter Brandi, after my sister Lord, as a way to let her legacy live on. I know you will help me to see what is best for me. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
There were a lot of things Justine wasn’t sure of in this world, but the one thing she was certain of was God’s love. Despite everything that she had been through she had never questioned God’s love. She may have questioned why he had let her sister die, but she had never really questioned his love. Somehow he had always got her through the most difficult times including her sisters death, and now he was getting her through this. Somehow she had to believe that Bert was going to make it, that he somehow got away from those monsters, and that justice would be served. She had no choice but to have faith, because without faith she would nowhere.
Justine was thankful for the faith she had, the strength to see her through. She needed that strength to get through this, this hell. Justine was glad that she had faith, glad that she was not alone in this battle. She wanted to live her life for the Lord no matter what came her way, and she was trying to do that. Even after her sister was murdered she tried to stay strong in faith, but the truth was sometimes it was hard, very hard. She had so many questions, and no real answers. Figuring out why someone killed an innocent girl was impossible. It just made no sense. Neither did what they were going through now, but she had to believe God’s hand was in this, that he was watching out for Bert. She wanted to believe in this horror Bert had realized his need for God.
After reading her devotions Justine booted up her computer, and began reading from her sisters computer entries. It was a journal of sorts, not as detailed as her diary, but it did give Justine some insights on what Brandi had gone through the last year or so of her life. The year before she had so brutally been murdered.
It’s getting to be Christmas time, and I used to love this season, and all it stood for, but now I am just so over taken by fear of what’s going to happen to me, fear of someone catching me for what I saw, that I don’t know if I can really celebrate. I should be worrying about dances and first dates, and things other Sophomores worry about, but instead I am afraid, afraid for my very life. I saw something I should not have seen, something so sick I can’t even begin to describe it other than to say, no one should have the right to sale a person especially a child like they were a piece of property. I thought slavery went out long ago, but it’s still happening and it makes me sick.
People I once thought I could trust, I am no longer sure of. This little town is full of dark secrets, secrets that all to often end in death. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I wish we could just move away, but I am afraid these secrets would follow me. All I know for sure is that, no matter what happens I have to someone keep my family safe, but how am I going to do that if I am afraid for my very life?
I know they are capable of murder, these monsters. I saw them dispose of a body. I called the cops and left an anonymous tip but I am afraid of it getting back to me. Afraid for my life, but not only my life, but my families as well.
I saw them throw away a person, like she was nothing more than a doll to be tossed aside when they were done playing with her. She was probably younger than I am, though I am sure she had seen much more than I could even imagine. I pray I never have to see anything like this again, but I am afraid it’s going to happen again and again. If they can do this once what’s going to stop them from doing it again?
Justine keeps asking me what’s wrong. Why I am acting the way I am, but I can not answer her, I don’t even know how to put this into words, and I am afraid for her, for Mom and Dad. The less they know the better. I don’t want to put them in the kind of danger I am, although I am afraid I may have.
I just don’t know what to do Lord. I know I am afraid more afraid than I have ever been in my life. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen in a place like Emerald Lake, we are supposed to be safe. We are supposed to live the idyllic life here, but that is far from the case. Especially if you are a young girl on the wrong side of the tracks. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain these parents must be feeling.
I can’t even begin to imagine what my parents would feel if something happened to me.
It scares me just to think about.
I feel like those carefree days have been ripped away from me, and all because I saw something I needed to see.
It wasn’t like I went out looking for trouble, but it found me anyway.

Justine couldn’t believe how prophetic her sisters words were. She had faced the fate of the girl she had seen tossed away like trash, but at least Brandi had, had the chance for a proper burial. As far as she knew Justine did not think the same thing happened for the girl her sister had seen tossed away like trash. She had been giving a proper burial thanks to the community, but no one seemed to really know her. It saddened Justine to even think about it.
Brandi you were keeping so much from us. I wonder if things would have been different if you told us. I know you were afraid, but I really wish you hadn’t felt the need to keep all of this to yourself. Perhaps we could have helped you.”
All the perhaps’s in the world were not going to change the what was. Brandi had been murdered at the hands of monsters, just over ten years ago, and nothing in the world would bring her back. Not that Justine would wish her back, in a world gone crazy.
Lord I wish Brandi had not had to go through this fear, during the last year of her life. I wish she had not held all of that in. I know she must have felt like she was exploding Lord. I pray that she knew how much we love her. I will always love my sister, and I will do everything in my power to bring her killers to Justice.
The phone rang bringing Justine to the present. She prayed with all her heart it was Bert. She needed to hear from Bert needed to know he was okay. She was not ready to lose someone else in her life. She would never be ready to lose anyone the way she had lost her sister, the violence of her sisters death, the way she had found her was something that would forever be embe dded in her mind.
You won’t escape from us Justine. You know what we did to your sister, and you are next.”
She hated the sound of the evil in there voice.
Why can’t you just leave my family alone? You already took Brandi from us? How much more do you want?”
We won’t be satisfied until we wiped out everyone who knows anything about what happened your sister.”
Please just leave us alone.”
Sorry that’s not going to happen, you are all going to die.”
Lord please let these monsters be caught soon. I am tired of the threats and the fear. I am starting to see what Brandi must have felt the last few weeks of her life, when the threats started. I know that’s when they started because that’s when she started acting more afraid than she had before.

You are going to slip up someday, and you will be caught.” Justine said sounding more confident than she felt.
That’s what you think.”
The line went dead. And Justine was once again left with her fears.
She hated the mind games these monsters were playing.
Lord I want this nightmare to be over. I want to get back to living, living without fear. I forget what that’s like.
I know we are supposed to fear you alone, but we are facing real danger here. And it scares me to no end.
I saw what they did to Justine Lord. I know what they are capable of.

Her Secret Words Chapter Six -Thirteen (Fiction)

Chapter Six:

He was starting to regret what he did? Starting to regret running like this.

He knew that Justine was hurting, that she had questions, but maybe once he was gone, and once that journal was gone, maybe she would be safe.

Even that was not guaranteed though, he had inserted himself in her life. He should have found out what she had known long ago and left, the second he realized she knew nothing he should have left.

He had fallen in love though, falling in love with Justine had not been part of the plan.

The things he would do for his brother.

How did his brother get in something like this?

Murder, sure his brother had been a trouble maker, but he would never believe he could kill anyone.

But he had all but confessed to him, and for the past ten years he had kept that confessions a secret and that journal.

That journal had proved his brother was not everything he believed he was?

I can’t believe this, I am living a plot to a bad movie here? My brother has confessed to have murdered the sister of the woman I have fallen in love with? And to keep her safe, and to keep my brothers

secret safe. I have disappeared. I had no choice really.

Bert unlocked the glove box, to look at the journal once more, and was shocked to find it was gone.

Who could have found the journal?

Bert had just gotten the truck, no one knew he had it, except the person he bought it from.

What if they were somehow connected to Brandi’s murder too?

Am I ever going to wake up from this ten year old nightmare?

Will Justine ever be able to forgive me?

Bert kind of doubted Justine would be able to forgive him, the way he had lied to her. The way he had played her. Who could blame her if she didn’t? He knew her sisters killer, and ran instead of telling someone.

I am such a coward.

He could not turn his brother in though, not until he read the whole journal, not until he made sense of all of this.

If he could ever make sense of this?

It was all so confusing.

Bert tore up his truck looking under the seats, in the bed, the console anywhere to see if he could find the Journal, but no luck. It was gone, it was really gone.

This wasn’t good.

His life was once again being turned upside down, and now not only was he in danger, so was Justine.

It was exactly what he had not wanted to happen.

He had to figure things out, he could not let that journal fall into the wrong hands.

If it hadn’t already.

Bert was starting to feel like he was losing his mind. Piece by piece.

This was probably exactly how they wanted him to feel, it was exactly how he had made Justine feel.

He deserved this, but Justine did not deserve the danger she would face if that journal was in the wrong hands.

What could a ten year old diary written by a fifteen year old girl have in it that would cause so many people to die? Not merely die, but be murdered in such a brutal way?

Bert had, had it for the past ten years, but that did not mean he had read it, not most of it, only the part that his brother had shown him. He had not had the courage nor the time to read it any farther.

Maybe he should have read it. Perhaps all of this would make more sense if he had, but he had really had no desire to read a ten year old diary from a fifteen year old girl who had been murdered.

Something in that diary had led to that murder, that much was certain.

Brandi had known something.

And now Justine was in danger, he was in danger, and countless other girls and women.

There had already been several Murders, murders he had known that could not be tied to his brother.

No none of this was making much sense, the fact that his brother had confessed. It somehow did not jive with him. It was like he had been trying to convince Bert of something he did not believe himself.

The pieces did not forget, and no matter how many times he tried to figure them out in the past ten years, they never did forget.

The fact was Bert just could not make sense of any of this any more than Justine was. And part of Justine’s pain was his fault.

If Bert were a praying man he would be praying for forgiveness. Forgiveness for all the mistakes he had made, but the truth was he was no longer sure what he believed. He knew Justine was a believer. She wore her faith proudly, without shoving it down people’s throats. She had a quiet way about witnessing to others as she called it, and if Bert were a believer that would be exactly how he wanted to be. He would want to be exactly like Justine, but instead he had hurt her, something she would never intentionally do to another, because she had known pain all to well.

She had found her sister dead. Murdered, there was no pain equal to finding someone you loved murdered.

Maybe I would be able to make more sense of life if I believed? Maybe I should have taken a cue from Justine?

Part Two

Chapter Seven:

I can’t believe I fail for his lies. He just left me. I thought he loved me, he was only trying to find out what I knew.

Brandi warned me to be careful, before she died. She knew something was going to happen. I only wish I had listened to her, maybe I could have saved her.

Justine knew that she could not blame herself forever. She was going to have to let some of this guilt go at some time, but she was not sure when that time would come. It wasn’t like she was responsible for a lost trinket, she could very well be responsible for her sisters death. Not directly of course, but indirectly, though the logic just wasn’t their. She did not even know what was going on.

Lord I am sorry for being like this, but I feel like my life has been turned upside down once again. I don’t know what I am going to do, my faith has been shaken in a very real way. I know I can’t blame you for what happened, but Lord I feel like I have had some kind of curse put on my life or something. I know your love overpowers all of that, but I am struggling. Thank you Lord.

“Brandi I feel like I have failed you all over again. I am so sorry.” Justine believed her sister heard her. She may be gone, but she lived on in her heart.

There was something that was in that journal, that long lost journal, that led to her death. Justine remembered a small disk she kept in that journal as well.

A disk of files that she had saved before she did.

Justine was not even sure if that disk would be readable, but if it was by some small chance, then maybe she would find answers on that as well.

Why hadn’t she remembered this until now?

Ten years later, and she remembers a small detail like that. A disk that may lead to her sisters killer or killers.

This was starting to feel like something out of a movie to Justine, but the fact was she wanted answers. She wanted to know what was on that disk, and what was in that journal. Once she knew that, and her sisters killer or killers were behind bars, she may find peace after that, but she did not even know if that day would come. She could only pray it would.

Lord I pray someday we have the answers we have been searching so long for. I pray that someday soon Brandi’s murderer will finally have to face justice.

Justine would be relieved when the pieces finally fell together. When she finally could put the pieces of the puzzle of her sisters murder together. Fact was even ten years later, none of this made any sense. She wasn’t sure it ever would. Murder just wasn’t supposed to make sense? Especially the murder of an innocent fifteen year old girl.

She’d be twenty five now.

She might have children by now, a family.

That was all stolen from her, by the person or people who murdered her.

“Maybe the fact that I am starting to remember more details from the week s before you were killed Brandi is a good thing. It was like I was drugged or something.’

People may think Justine was crazy for talking to her dead sister this way, but the fact was she didn’t care. This made her feel closer to her sister, and no one was going to take that away from her.

What others thought at the moment did not matter though, what mattered was finding her sisters killer.

The same thing that had mattered for the past ten years.

Finding out who killed her sister was what mattered. And she was going to do that, but if it were going to take me the rest of my life I was going to find out about it.

Lord lead me to the answers I need to figure things out.

Someday Brandi would get justice, Justine would make sure of it, even if no one else did. She needed to find the answers. Answers that she did not have now, but someday she would have. Justine had to believe she would have answers.

Lord things are slowly starting to come together, but they won’t come completely together, until I find that journal. It disappeared sometime after Brandi was killed.

The pieces were falling together, but they were not yet complete. Someday they would be complete, but not at the moment.

For the moment though, she had to get back to work get back to the normalcy of life. Not that it had been anyway normal in the past ten years. She was going to get back on with her life, and for now she was thankful she was self employed. An author just as her sister had dreamed of being.

Truth was like Brandi Justine had always loved writing, but Brandi had been more passionate about it. She was certain her sister would have been famous by now, if she had lived.

Ironically now she was famous in her death. The brutal murder had made sure of that, but that was not how anyone had imagined Brandi becoming famous. She could have been the next Danielle Steel.

“You would be something great by now Brandi. The fact is to us you already were, and someone decided to take you from us. Ten years and I still miss you like it was yesterday.”

I guess you never stop missing someone that was murdered the way Justine was.

I miss the way we talked late into the night when we were younger. Before all of this, before you were gone of course, but before things started changing too. I was four years your senior, but I had always enjoyed your company.

Don’t get me wrong, we had our moments, we could both drive each other nuts, but we would have each others back.

I didn’t have your back, when it counted though?

If I had you might be alive, but I wasn’t even there. I was at classes.

Someone murdered you in broad daylight, Mom and Dad were at work, I was in class, and no one saw anything. Heard anything.

It just doesn’t seem right, it still doesn’t to me.

I am not sure if it ever will.

Murder is not something that is supposed to make sense though.

Justine was more determined than ever to find that journal.

She remembered a Storage Locker she had been to once with Bert, she didn’t know what was in that locker, but was sure it wasn’t much. His house was nicely furnished, and she couldn’t imagine him keeping junk in a storage locker.

Something was hidden in that locker, something he didn’t even want her to see. He had kept her away from that Storage Unit at all costs.

The journal? Could he have Brandi’s journal?

Justine did not want to think this way, but she could not help it. Something was in that Storage Until something he did not want her to see.

The pieces were starting to fall together. The past ten years had been a lie.

She had fallen in love with a liar, and perhaps even worse. She may have fallen in love with her sisters killer.

The thought alone made her sick to her stomach.

Lord whatever I find out, please don’t let Bert be the killer. I believe he knows more than he has been saying, but please don’t let him be the killer.

I don’t want to have fallen in love with a killer.

None of that was going to matter though, because the fact was she wouldn’t allow herself to love Bert anymore. At least that was what she had planned on doing, just stop loving him. Her heart had other ideas though.

Why am I such a fool that I fall in love with someone tied up with Brandi’s murder? At the very least I have fallen in love with a liar.

I can’t believe I let myself fall in love with someone like this.

“How could I have been so stupid Brandi, so blind?”

Of course she did not expect her sister to answer the question. It wasn’t really a question to be answered anyway, not by anyone but herself and God.

“I miss you Brandi, I truly do. I don’t know if I will ever stop missing you. I think maybe when I find answers I will find peace. But I am not even sure about that.”

Fact is I am not sure about anything, other than my sister deserves justice, and I am going to do my best to make it.

Chapter Eight:

Justine drove over to the storage unit to see if Bert had closed out the unit. She was surprised to find out he hadn’t. And thankfully he had left a spare key at her house, the last time he had stayed over. Perhaps he had done it on purpose, though Brandi could not figure out why he had left it, or whether or not he had done so on purpose. She knew he had two keys, she was sure one was with him, and the other was left at her house.

Justine drove over to the storage unit, to see if she could find the journal inside, she did not really expect to find it in there, but perhaps she would find something. Maybe she could figure out more about Bert.

Somehow she doubted that though.

Brandi wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to make sense of any of this. She needed to find the answers.

Fact was none of this made sense.

The unit was empty except for something in a far corner, a small box, no bigger than a shoe box.

Why rent a storage room for something so small, unless it was valuable? Perhaps not monetary , but perhaps in another way. Like life and death wise.

Is it to much to hope, that the journal is in here, that he didn’t take it with him?

She wasn’t surprised to find the box empty, except an old disk that had been overlooked, or perhaps fallen out of the journal.

“This is Brandi’s disk?” She said to no one in particular. There was really no one to talk to in that empty room anyway. She had to leave, and somehow retrieve what was on that disk.

Is it to much to hope a ten year old disk still works Lord?

Justine had decided one way or another she would find out what was on that disk.

Maybe it was nothing, but then again maybe it was something.

She was going to do her best to find out one way or another.

Maybe if she had the answers, she could have some measure of peace.

Maybe she could finally put her sister to rest. Truly to rest. She was buried yes, but she had not truly been put to rest, because it was hard for that to happen when no one felt any peace.

I don’t know what’s on these disks, but I hope whatever it is, can answer some of the questions, that have been lingering on for ten years.

Justine hoped the disk was the one she thought it was, the one that belonged to her sister. The one that had went missing the same time as the journal, shortly after Brandi was murdered. But in a small way she was almost afraid to find out what was on that disk.

Whatever is on this disk, if it is the disk I think it is, was bad enough that Brandi hid it from us, that someone killed her for that and the journal, and after she was dead they made it disappear.

Somehow Bert ended up with it.

Justine was starting to put the pieces together, but she wasn’t sure she liked them. Because it involved Bert being involved with her sisters murder. Or at the very least he was involved with the cover up, getting the person who killed her sister.

I don ‘t want to believe these things about Bert, the only other option was that he was in danger too. That the killers somehow have him.

Right now nothing would surprise her, but if he was in danger he needed help.

If she called the cops before she knew anything though, she needed to spend time in prayer, and in the word, perhaps the good Lord could help her make sense of all of this.

Brandi went home, and took a few moments out to read Isaiah 41:

41 “Be silent before me, you islands!

Let the nations renew their strength!

Let them come forward and speak;

let us meet together at the place of judgment.

2 “Who has stirred up one from the east,

calling him in righteousness to his service[a]?

He hands nations over to him

and subdues kings before him.

He turns them to dust with his sword,

to windblown chaff with his bow.

3 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,

by a path his feet have not traveled before.

4 Who has done this and carried it through,

calling forth the generations from the beginning?

I, the Lord—with the first of them

and with the last—I am he.”

5 The islands have seen it and fear;

the ends of the earth tremble.

They approach and come forward;

6 they help each other

and say to their companions, “Be strong!”

7 The metalworker encourages the goldsmith,

and the one who smooths with the hammer

spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.

One says of the welding, “It is good.”

The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.

8 “But you, Israel, my servant,

Jacob, whom I have chosen,

you descendants of Abraham my friend,

9 I took you from the ends of the earth,

from its farthest corners I called you.

I said, ‘You are my servant’;

I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 “All who rage against you

will surely be ashamed and disgraced;

those who oppose you

will be as nothing and perish.

12 Though you search for your enemies,

you will not find them.

Those who wage war against you

will be as nothing at all.

13 For I am the Lord your God

who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, Do not fear;

I will help you.

14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,

little Israel, do not fear,

for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,

new and sharp, with many teeth.

You will thresh the mountains and crush them,

and reduce the hills to chaff.

16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,

and a gale will blow them away.

But you will rejoice in the Lord

and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water,

but there is none;

their tongues are parched with thirst.

But I the Lord will answer them;

I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,

and springs within the valleys.

I will turn the desert into pools of water,

and the parched ground into springs.

19 I will put in the desert

the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.

I will set junipers in the wasteland,

the fir and the cypress together,

20 so that people may see and know,

may consider and understand,

that the hand of the Lord has done this,

that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

21 “Present your case,” says the Lord.

“Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.

22 “Tell us, you idols,

what is going to happen.

Tell us what the former things were,

so that we may consider them

and know their final outcome.

Or declare to us the things to come,

23 tell us what the future holds,

so we may know that you are gods.

Do something, whether good or bad,

so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.

24 But you are less than nothing

and your works are utterly worthless;

whoever chooses you is detestable.

25 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—

one from the rising sun who calls on my name.

He treads on rulers as if they were mortar,

as if he were a potter treading the clay.

26 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know,

or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?

No one told of this,

no one foretold it,

no one heard any words from you.

27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’

I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.

28 I look but there is no one—

no one among the gods to give counsel,

no one to give answer when I ask them.

29 See, they are all false!

Their deeds amount to nothing;

their images are but wind and confusion.

Despite all the madness of the past few days, spending time in the word, did bring her a measure of comfort.

Justine had started to feel like she was neglecting God, she was sure glad she opened her eyes to that.

It was her faith that had got her through for the past ten years, and her faith alone.

Thank you Lord, for all you have given me. I know you are going to help me through this, just as you have done for the past ten years. I may not understand what happened, but I know that you do.

“I feel much better now that I spent time in the word. I can not even begin to imagine how you felt when you faced our creator. I know you were a believer Brandi, you gave your heart to the Lord, when you were ten and a half. ”

Justine found a level of comfort in talking to her sister the way she so often did. She did it when she was alone of course, because other one might think she was crazy. She wasn’t of course, she just felt a measure of peace when she talked to her sister.

Thank you Lord, for everything you have given me. Thank you Lord for letting me find the disk, for letting Bert leave the disk behind. I am sure he didn’t mean to Lord, but I am glad he did. I pray he is okay. I pray that I get the answers I have been searching for, and I pray that someday all of this starts to make sense. I am not sure it ever will though. My sister is dead, murdered ten years ago, that will never make any sense to me.

The fact of the matter was Justine was feeling better than she had in a while. Perhaps it was finding the disk but most likely it was the fact that she had taken the time to talk to God.

It was amazing how having a relationship with the Lord, got you through the toughest of times. Even after Brandi had been murdered she had not stopped believing her faith may have been shaken, but she never questioned his existence. She may have wondered why this had happened, and the fact was she still did, but despite all of this she knew that God existed, that he was God.

I am grateful for all you have given me Lord, and for the answers I believe one day you will lead us to. I love you and I thank you.

Justine booted up her old computer, praying that the disk would be readable. Praying that it would lead to answers, she was relieved when she saw the disk was still good. It had been kept in a cool dry place, that had allowed it to be persevered. She was grateful for that, and thank you for all you have given me.

Thank you Lord, maybe now I will have the answers I have been searching for. Maybe I will be able to put the pieces together. Perhaps even save Bert if he was still in danger.

Chapter Nine:

Bert was relieved when he finally found the journal. Buried under the truck seats.

How could I have been so careless? I would never be so careless.

Something just wasn’t making much sense to Bert, the fact was the last few days had been something of a blur.

In ways he felt like he was running from ghosts. If he felt like this, how much Justine feel?

I was a fool I loved her, and I hurt her. I never wanted to do that, never wanted to do any of that. My intention was never to hurt her. Of course it had been never to fall in love with her either, but it was hard not to fall in love with Justine. She makes me feel like a prince.

Bert had never missed someone in his life, the way he missed Justine now. It saddened him, that he had to run away from the woman he loved in order to keep her safe. He hared that he had to make that choice, but he could not be responsible for anything happening to Justine. She had already lost her sister, and he knew who the killer was, if he believed everything his brother told him. And somehow he didn’t.

This was all so confusing.

Justine must be beating herself up over him leaving. He was going to make it up to her one way or another. If she would ever speak to him again, when this was all over. If this was all over?

I should have listened to my heart. I should have stayed with Justine, but I couldn’t not at the risk of her life.

I put the woman I loved in danger.

I wish I had her faith, maybe if I did I wouldn’t feel so utterly alone.

Bert picked up the journal that had belonged to Brandi, Justine’s little sister, the journal that had led them together, but the one thing he had not expected to happen, happened. They fell in love.

He hadn’t even believed he was capable of love, until he had met Justine. And now the journal that had belonged to her sister was the closest thing he had to Justine.

The only problem was the disk was gone.

Where was the disk?

It had to have fallen out in the storage unit, or someone else had got to it.

Maybe the journal had not been misplaced after all, maybe it hadn’t been the journal they were after but the disk?

The fact was he knew though, they had been after both.

It had to be in the unit.

He would have to retrieve it someway or another.

He was certain Justine probably had it now, and she was in danger.

Bert drove as fast as he could, without bring suspicion to the local police. After driving for a few hours he picked up a burn phone to call Justine on. He could not risk calling her on his cell. He had changed the number anyway, and put it under an assumed name.

He dialed her number, praying for an answer. He knew she would want an explanation. The business trip had not been a business trip after all. By now even she probably knew that.

“Justine it’s Bert, I know I owe you an explanation, and that will come in time. But please be careful. I know you went to the Storage unit and found that disk. It could put you in serious danger.”

“What are you talking about Bert? And why should I believe anything you say?”

“Justine I know I lied to you, but never about the way I felt towards you.”

“I want to believe that Bert. I really do.”

“You can believe it Justine, and please be careful, there is something on that disk that Justine killers want.”

“The journal, the disk? Why kill someone over such everyday objects.”

“Justine all I know is they hold secrets the killers don’t want discovered. I don’t know how your sister got tied up in it, or my brother but they did.”

“Your brother?”

“Yes my brother, he’s there fall guy.”

“He was a suspect wasn’t he?”

“Yes but it’s all a mistake. I will tell you about it later. I am on my way back now. Don’t tell anyone I called. Not even your parents. It can put them in danger as well.”

A second later, the line went dead.

Something was wrong, very wrong.

I don’t know what’s going on Lord, but I am starting to see how Brandi must have felt before she was murdered ten years ago.

Have they got Bert now?

I don’t know what’s going on Lord, but I am hoping that I wake up from this nightmare soon.

Justine picked up her Bible once again, this time trying to ease her fears, trying to make sense of all of this.

None of it made any sense though, Justine wasn’t sure it ever would.

Brandi was dead, had been for ten years, and now the killers may very well have taken Bert.

He had told her to much.

Maybe if she hadn’t insisted on stirring all of this up things would be different.

Forgive me Lord, I feel like I have stirred up something that maybe should have been left alone. But I needed the answers that led to Brandi’s death. I think now I have only made things more difficult. I could be responsible for whatever happens to Bert because of my insistence. Maybe I just need to let Brandi rest in peace.

The fact was Brandi couldn’t rest in peace until she had the answers to her sisters murder though. Until the person or people responsible were put behind bars.

Somehow she knew it was tied to several other deaths in the past ten years.

Justine opened her Bible to 1 John 4, praying for a small measure of peace.

On Denying the Incarnation

4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

God’s Love and Ours

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

The word did bring her comfort, but right now she had to figure things out like how to save Bert.

Despite everything he did not deserve to die the way Brandi had, no one deserved that kind of brutality. He deserved better.

The fact was despite everything Justine still loved Bert, and she had to try and protect him. If he was in danger, and somehow she knew he was.

The people responsible for Brandi’s death were obviously very dangerous. And they would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. Not even murder!

The way Brandi had been murdered, and all those women besides her was proof of that.

They were connected, Brandi’s murder, and the others. They had to be.

Chapter Ten:

Justine I am afraid, there are dangerous people out there. I am not going to tell you what’s happening, but if anything should happen to me. I beg you try to find out who did this to me, and please be careful. Mom and Dad couldn’t bare to lose another daughter. You are all they have left.

Justine folded the note, and put it away. It was falling apart from ten years of handling. The note told her what she had already known, someone had been after Brandi, even before her death. She was going to find out who did this to her sister, and now who had Bert.

The call had went dead, and Justine had thought she had heard other voices.

Did they know who he called?

Was she next?

Lord why did I have to stir up all of this? Why did I have to insist on digging for the answers? Perhaps if I hadn’t things would be different. Perhaps Bert would be sitting beside her.

“Brandi I want to find the answers to who killed you, and why, but I don’t want other people to die because of this. I don’t know what you got wrapped up into Brandi, but whatever it was, it was something very dangerous. How could a fifteen year old girl, get tied up into something that leads to her death? Who kills a fifteen year old girl for a journal and a computer disk.”

Justine booted up her computer once again. Retrieving her sisters files, the files that may have led to her death. She wanted the answers, and perhaps they would help lead her to Bert. If he really was in danger, like she believed he was, she had to find the answers.

Justine couldn’t wait until this nightmare was put behind her.

A nightmare ten years in the making.

What did you have on that disk, and in those journals that could have led to your death?

When will this nightmare end?

Please Lord keep Bert safe, I would not be able to forgive myself if something happened to him because of me. Dear Lord please keep him safe. Keep us all safe. This is all such a nightmare.

I love you Lord, and I thank you for getting me this far, but I am asking for protection.

Brandi deserved to have justice. She deserved that and so much more. She had deserved to live, but ten years ago she had been murdered.

Ten long years ago.

Ten years is a long time for a murderer to get away scot free, ten years is a long time for someone to be allowed to keep killing.

Justine had turned on the news just a few hours, to find another girl had been murdered. Once again the M.O had been similar, if not identical to Brandi’s this girl had been seventeen, and Pregnant. Seventeen was young to get Pregnant, but it was certainly nothing to be murdered over.

I feel like I am living a nightmare right now. I need your help to get through this Lord. I really do I can not do this on my own. I need you Lord, now more than ever I need you. I feel like I am reliving my sister’s death over again. I love you Lord and I thank you for getting me this far.

Justine could only imagine how alone Bert must feel. She had been trying to witness to him for the past ten years. Maybe now he would see that she had been right that she really did need the good Lord. Everyone did, even if they did not realize they did.

I couldn’t even begin to imagine getting through the past ten years without you Lord. If it hadn’t been for you I would have given up a long time ago. I love you Lord, and I thank you.

“Brandi I really wish I knew more about your life, the few months before you were killed, but you hid everything so well. You really didn’t want us to know about any of this did you?”

Justine wanted answers. She wanted to know what had happened to her sister, that was the only thing she wanted to know for the past ten years. She wanted to know who killed her sister, she needed to know that.

“Someday Brandi you will have justice. I really believe that, I have to, but right now I needed to find out where Bert is. Whoever has him may hurt him? The way they hurt you Brandi, the way they killed you. I couldn’t live with someone else I loved being murdered the way you were.”

Someday Justine would stop talking to her dead sister. Or maybe she wouldn’t.

Thank you Lord for getting us this far, and I am going to believe that you are going to keep Bert safe.

I love you Lord, and I do thank you for everything you have given me. I know I have been asking a lot of you lately, but Lord it is not me I am trying to save but Bert. Another death would tear us all apart. Another murder. Someday this is all going to stop, someday we are going to make it.

Chapter Eleven:

“Where is the disk and the journal?” Bert’s captors demanded.

“Do you really think I am so stupid, I am going to tell you. The second I do, you will kill me.”

“You’ll die if you don’t tell me.”

“I am no idiot. As long as I know where they are and no one else does. I must be kept alive, the second I tell you, you kill me.”

“Maybe we should just make you wish you were dead.”

“Do that and you will never find either one.”

“One way or another we will find it, if we have to get to your little girlfriend of yours. She deserves to die, the way her sister did.”

“And why did you feel the need to kill a fifteen year old girl? I know you have children, what if someone did that to one of your children.”

“My children are not stupid enough to go looking for trouble.”

“You are heartless.”

“Maybe but I am alive, and I am free. I intend on staying free. You know we will kill you one way or another. We will not be found out.”

“What are you going to do, kill everyone?”

“Everyone who stands in our way.”

Bert quieted. He was hurting. They had beat him, his lips were fat, his eyes nearly swollen shut The pain was intense, but the pain in his heart was even more intense. His heart was breaking, because he knew what Justine must be going through,

She heard them take me, she could be in danger too.

I know we really haven’t been on speaking terms Lord. I know I have questioned your very existence, but now more than ever I need you to be real, and I need you to help Justine out of this, She doesn’t deserve this, right now I am wishing I had never been so deceptive. If I had been honest with her from the start maybe none of this would have never happened.

Justine had never stopped believing, even after what had happened to her sister she had not stopped believing.

She was stronger than Bert could ever be, he had no doubt about that.

Whatever happens Lord, please help Justine through this. Let her survive this, let her find the answers she has been chasing for the past ten years, and I promise you Lord, if I get out of this alive I will help her in anyway possible.

Bert had gone from never praying to talking to God, twice in the same day. In the same hour even, and he was discovering Justine was right. God did not leave your side, when you reached out, and he was thankful for that.

I am sorry if I ever questioned your existence Lord. I am starting to see now that you are very much real, and that you love us. Lord please help me through this.

A few hours later, someway came back into the room bringing Bert a tray of food. He didn’t know why they were bothering to feed him, if they wanted to kill him, unless they planned on poisoning him somehow, but he kind of doubted that. These people would make the death more brutal more painful. Each death held a message.

What am I dealing with here Lord? Did they get to Trevor too? Is he dead?

Bert wanted answers, just as Justine had. He wanted to find out why these people kept killing girls and women. One after another. Somehow he had to get out of here, and go to the police. If they didn’t get him soon, it would only lead to more deaths.

“Are you ready to talk yet?”

“I told you I am not answering your questions, the journal is gone, the disk is gone, that is all you need to know.”

“You’re a fool you know that. I am the one that holds the cards not you.”

“I am not speaking, do what you want to me.”

“Perhaps bringing your girlfriends dead body to you, would be enough convincing?”

“Don’t even think of touching her.”

“She’s nosy and she needs to be quieted just like her pretty little sister was.”

“You’re a sick bastard.”

“That may be, but if you don’t start talking very soon, I will bring you your girlfriends dead body. And I will find her.”

Lord he is capable of this, please stop this maniac from getting to Justine. Please lead the cops to him.

“I am not telling you anything. Either way my life is in danger and so is Justine’s.”

“The less you tell me, the more painful I will make your girlfriends death. And I will make you watch.”

“Just leave her out of this.”

“Sorry that’s not happening, she is in this, and I am going to make sure she pays for her role. Just how much pain her payment brings is up to you. I can make her death quick and painless or I could torture her.”

“Or you could have a heart and let her live. Because if you don’t someone will go after your family. They will make them go through what you have made all these women, and little girls go through.”

“No one threatens my family.”

“I would be careful if I were you, because one day you will be caught, and you will pay. I just wonder if your family will have to pay as well.”

“Shut up.”

“Then leave Justine out of this.”

“Sorry I can’t do that.”

“You are more of an idiot than I thought.”

Bert had no idea where he was getting the courage to talk like this. To face the monster in this way, but that was exactly what he was doing. The fact was he wasn’t so scary face to face, someone needed to take him down.

Bert wasn’t one who believed in taking another life, but for this monster, he wanted to make an exception. He would strangle him with his bear hands if he had the strength and energy at the moment.

I know you frown upon killing, but in this case, I would like to see him struck down, before he takes anymore lives, and I know he will. He will kill and he will keep killing until he is caught Lord. Help them to find me, and arrest him. He doesn’t deserve to see the light of day again. He deserves to fry in the electric chair. Thank you Lord for listening to me. I am glad I started talking to you again. Justine was right, it is liberating, and good having someone to talk to.

“You are going to regret this, you will crack.”

“You obviously don’t know me.”

“I have seen your type before, they always crack.”

“Well there’s a first time for everything. And I am going to be glad when I see you fall.”

“That’s not happening.”

“You are not God, you are not invincible.”

“That’s what you think.”

“You really are crazy.”

“No you are the one who is crazy, for not giving me what I asked for.”

“That’s just not going to happen.”

“One way or another it will, you can be sure of that.”

“I don’t think so.”

Chapter Twelve.

Justine knew she couldn’t talk to her parents about what was happening. It would only serve to freak them out. She had to give a report to the police though. Bert was in danger, the person who had killed her sister, most likely had him.

They wanted that journal, the stupid journal that had caused her sister her life, a decade ago.

Justine was able to retrieve the files from Brandi’s disk. She opened the first one dated November.2011. Ten months before Brandi was killed.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t like what I see. These guys, old guys probably older than Dad, picking up girls, girls about my age. Some a little younger, and some a little younger. I don’t know what’s going on, but it can’t be something good.

I always thought Emerald Lake was such a nice friendly town. Safe, but now I am starting to see that is not true .

I can’t let anyone know what I saw, the fact is I am not even sure what I saw. But something is not right.

“I hope they listen to me, they believe me. I am afraid they are going to think I am just some nut, but this is real Brandi, as real as your murder was ten years ago.”

Justine drover herself to the police station praying all the way. Not only did she need to tell them about Bert missing, but she had to show them what she had discovered on that disk. She only wished she had the journal as well. Perhaps if she had them both, it would be more believable.

She had to tell them regardless, but she was going to take a few moments to find comfort in his word.

Justine opened her Bible and began reading.

1 Thessalonians 3

New International Version (NIV)

3 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

Timothy’s Encouraging Report

6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Justine finished her time in the word, and got in the car. She was watching her back the entire time. She wanted to make it to the police station, in one peace, without being followed. She felt like someone was watching her, really watching her. She felt like she was being followed and she did not want to even think about what they would do, if they caught up to her and they got the disk.

Lord I am scared. Help me through this. I love you Lord, and I appreciate everything you have done for me. But I feel I am in serious danger right now. I have seen lights following me from the house.

Justine noticed that a dark SVU had been following her from the time she left her house. She had noticed him, after she pulled out of the driveway, but she had not thought to go back into her house. In fact she thought that may actually be more dangerous.

How afraid you must have been Brandi? I have been feeling that fear now.

Justine hadn’t even had a chance to read everything on the pages, but she would. She needed to report this to the police though. Maybe she would just tell them about Bert missing until she knew what was on that disk, but if she did that she could be impeding the investigation.

Lord I am so confused I don’t know what I should do. All I do know is I want Bert to be safe. I want this to end. I want all of this to end. I love you Lord, and I thank you for getting me this far. Don’t let this car keep following me. Let me lose him, before I get to the police station.

Justine let out a sigh of relief when she pulled into the police station safely, and made the report of Bert missing. She decided to wait on giving the police the disk until she knew more. She wanted to find out what was in those files.

She wanted to know what her sister had seen that, most likely led to her death, and how her fifteen year old sister had gotten mixed up in all of this. She couldn’t understand why Brandi had been murdered, that was not something she could ever understand. Her sister being murdered would never make sense to her.

What danger can a fifteen year old posses to these men? The men she wrote about on those files Lord!

This was all a bad nightmare.

But it was more than a nightmare, this was reality.

Her sister really had been murder, and now those murderers, most likely had Bert.

The murderers had been free to kill for the past ten years, perhaps longer.

Somehow Justine doubted Brandi had been the first person these monsters murdered. There were probably more dating to the eighties, perhaps longer. She did not want to think about it, but for the past ten years, she was forced to think about it daily.

Her sister was dead, because there was something going on in Emerald Lake. A small out of the way community, that until Brandi’s death hadn’t known much in the way of violence, but after Brandi’s death things began changing and not in a positive way. More girls were being killed. Justine did not like to begin to think about it.

How can so much evil exist? I don’t think that is something I will ever understand Lord. I don’t think I can ever get passed the evil. I love you Lord, and I thank you for everything you have given me. And I thank you that despite everything you have blessed me. I know for awhile I was not seeing that especially after Brandi was killed, but Lord I do know that you Love me Lord and I thank you.

Justine was thankful she was able to make her report, then return to the house. It was almost a relief when no one followed her, but she couldn’t be to careful.

Before she went to bed, Justine once again opened up her Bible, and took some time to listen to what the good Lord said. I love you Lord, and I thank you.

Zephaniah 3 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV)


3 Woe to the city of oppressors,

rebellious and defiled!

2 She obeys no one,

she accepts no correction.

She does not trust in the Lord,

she does not draw near to her God.

3 Her officials within her

are roaring lions;

her rulers are evening wolves,

who leave nothing for the morning.

4 Her prophets are unprincipled;

they are treacherous people.

Her priests profane the sanctuary

and do violence to the law.

5 The Lord within her is righteous;

he does no wrong.

Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,

and every new day he does not fail,

yet the unrighteous know no shame.

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

6 “I have destroyed nations;

their strongholds are demolished.

I have left their streets deserted,

with no one passing through.

Their cities are laid waste;

they are deserted and empty.

7 Of Jerusalem I thought,

‘Surely you will fear me

and accept correction!’

Then her place of refuge[a] would not be destroyed,

nor all my punishments come upon[b] her.

But they were still eager

to act corruptly in all they did.

8 Therefore wait for me,”

declares the Lord,

“for the day I will stand up to testify.[c]

I have decided to assemble the nations,

to gather the kingdoms

and to pour out my wrath on them—

all my fierce anger.

The whole world will be consumed

by the fire of my jealous anger.

Restoration of Israel’s Remnant

9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,

that all of them may call on the name of the Lord

and serve him shoulder to shoulder.

10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[d]

my worshipers, my scattered people,

will bring me offerings.

11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame

for all the wrongs you have done to me,

because I will remove from you

your arrogant boasters.

Never again will you be haughty

on my holy hill.

12 But I will leave within you

the meek and humble.

The remnant of Israel

will trust in the name of the Lord.

13 They will do no wrong;

they will tell no lies.

A deceitful tongue

will not be found in their mouths.

They will eat and lie down

and no one will make them afraid.”

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;

shout aloud, Israel!

Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,

Daughter Jerusalem!

15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,

he has turned back your enemy.

The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;

never again will you fear any harm.

16 On that day

they will say to Jerusalem,

“Do not fear, Zion;

do not let your hands hang limp.

17 The Lord your God is with you,

the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

but will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “I will remove from you

all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,

which is a burden and reproach for you.

19 At that time I will deal

with all who oppressed you.

I will rescue the lame;

I will gather the exiles.

I will give them praise and honor

in every land where they have suffered shame.

20 At that time I will gather you;

at that time I will bring you home.

I will give you honor and praise

among all the peoples of the earth

when I restore your fortunes[e]

before your very eyes,”

says the Lord.

Justine finally went to bed, well after 3 a.m exhausted, but still to worried to sleep. She wanted to sleep, but she was unable to do so. Her mind was on her sister, but more so than that it was on Bert. She couldn’t imagine, what he was going through, but she knew it could not be good.

“Brandi it’s nights like this, when I miss you most. I wish I had someone to talk to really to talk to, and if you were still here Bert wouldn’t be in danger.”

The fact was if Brandi hadn’t died, Justine probably never would have met Bert. It was a sad fact, but true . Something tragic had brought something good, but wasn’t that how it worked? The good Lord had the ability to take something bad and turn something positive out of it. Meeting Bert had been a true blessing to her, despite all the lies. She understood now that Bert had been trying to protect her, and she loved him even more for that.

I know Bert isn’t a killer Lord, but I also know he is danger and I won’t truly be able to rest, until he is helped. Lead the authorities to him wherever he is at, and let no more lives being taken. I am sick of hearing about girls dying Lord, not just dying but being murdered in such a brutal way. Who goes into a girls house, and then shoots her execution style, the way they did Brandi, and how did they know she was alone. Usually we were together, or she was away from home, but it wasn’t often she was home alone, on a school day around eleven o clock in the morning. We had all thought she went to school that day, but she hadn’t. The fact was she had missed several days of school already. Someone had to be watching her, following her Lord. I am still seeking the answers I need.

Chapter Thirteen:

“Are you ready to speak yet? I would think you would have had enough of this by now.”

“No I told you I am not going to say anything.”

“You’re a fool.”

“No I am no fool or no idiot. If I say anything, you will certainly kill me.”

“I told you I am going to kill you either way. I always kill those who make me mad.”

“That’s a hell of a way to deal with your anger management problems.”

“I’m not the one with the problems, you are the one with the problems, and soon they will be picking up your pieces off the side of the road, but first I am going to kill your girlfriend, and make you watch. I already have some trailing her. She was foolish going to the cops the way she did.”

“Leave her out of this.”

“She’s already in this, and I am going to kill her.”

“Leave her out of this.”

“You know I am not going to do that.”

“You are nothing but a monster who gets off on killing defenseless woman and children.”

“You better shut up, the more you talk the more you are signing your girlfriends death warrant.”

“You already told me you were going to kill her.”

“Just how painful I make her death is up to you.”

Lord please keep Justine safe. I know I don’t have the right to ask you for anything, but this isn’t for me, this for Justine. I want her to be okay Lord. I am asking that you keep her safe. I love her Lord, as much as I denied for the past ten years I love her. I mean really love her, and I can not imagine my life without her, and I think she loves me too.

“You will speak, and you will speak soon. ”

“You don’t get it do you? In the end they always speak.”

“You don’t know me all that well.”

“They are always weak.”

Once again Bert was left alone with his thoughts. He knew the beatings would come in time. But for now he was going to be left alone with his thoughts. And sadly those thoughts fell on what Justine must be going through. Justine was hurting because Bert drug her into this, at least that was what he felt.

Help Justine Lord. I know for years I have abandoned you, I doubted your very existence. I know now that Justine was right all along. I love you Lord, and I thank you. Whatever happens Lord I know you are with me.

His brother hadn’t been in town at the time of these murders, fact was he had been put away on drug charges.

His brother had a little problem with Pot, and Meth, but to kill someone he could not imagine.

Still people got desperate when they needed a fix.

Her Secret Words Prologue-Chapter Five

I thought I had lost this Novel I was working on, thankfully I found it so I am posting it here


They said dead men, or dead women don’t tell tales.

I can tell you that is not always the case.

Sometimes Corpses talk, sometimes people leave stories behind.

Chapter One:

“It’s been ten years Andrea, ten long years, the case has gone cold.”

“She was just a girl ,barely fifteen, to die the way she died. The person who did this needs to pay.”

“I know your right, but we can not let this take over our lives.”

‘Brandi was not a this, she was my sister. She and I were close, her death, it nearly destroyed me. If I find that journal, it might give me answers.”

“I thought the police had it.”

“I did too, but they claim they have never had it, never heard of it.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Neither does my sister being gone for ten years, and everyone sitting on there hands.”

“I guess a lot of things about this don’t make sense.”

“You have that right.”

Justine if anything should happen to me, I need you to look for my diary, the answers are in there.

Brandi don’t talk like that. Your only fifteen, nothing is going to happen to you.

I got mixed up in things Justine.

What kind of things can you have gotten mixed up in Brandi, your just a girl?

Justine, you don’t know the half of it, please just get that journal if anything should happen to me. If it falls into the wrong hands, lives could be in danger.

I wish I had listened to my sister then, maybe if I had, and not thought it was her overactive imagination she would be alive today.

In a way I felt responsible for Brandi’s death, and perhaps if I found the journal, if it still existed, and I was certain it did. It was to valuable to burn from what Brandi had said, I needed to get my hands on it. I knew I would be risking my life, but Brandi was already dead. My sister had been dead for ten years now.

Ten years, by now I could have had a niece or nephew, but my little sister was dead.

The answers are in the journal, don’t forget that Justine. Don’t let anyone else get that journal. In the wrong hands, it could lead to more deaths.

I had no idea what was in that journal, or what my fifteen year old sister had been tied up in that could have led to her death, but the fact that she was dead spoke volumes. If I found the answers I just may be the killers next victim.

I knew from following the news the past few years, several other women, some as young as fourteen had been murdered, and some in their twenties and thirty. All with the same brutality of Brandis murder.

To many people were grieving over deaths of girls and women they loved.

We lived in a small town up until Brandi’s death we all thought we were safe.

We were wrong. Dead wrong.

Chapter Two:

“She has no idea, does she?”

“No Justine, thinks I am her knight and shining armor. She doesn’t have a clue how deep she runs, and I will make sure she doesn’t.”

“Make sure that journal stays lost.”

“Don’t worry I will.”

“Good, because you know what will happen if you don’t so please don’t be planning on your honey moon anytime soon.”

“You know what I feel about her, this is all an act.”

“Ten years is a long time to put an act on like that, no I see more than act on your face. You love her.”

“What are you Dr Phil?”

“No, but I am not blind either, so don’t lose sight of the goal either.”

“I won’t I know what is at stake.”

“Be sure to keep that in mind, because if that journal gets into the wrong hands, the woman you claim not to love is not the only one in danger. You are too. This goes higher than I do, and if something leaks, we are all in danger.”

He had to be sure that Justine did not find that journal, if she did she would be signing her death warrant and his. He had to make sure the journal stayed lost without destroying it. If he destroyed it his life insurance was gone. As long as he had knowledge of that journal, and they thought he was on their side, he was safe.

He had to keep his cover, and as much as he hated to, he had to keep making Justine, believe he was someone he was not.

The lies would catch up to him. He would be praying it was later than sooner, as long as his identity was hidden as well as the journal.

His identity being revealed would not only lead to his death, but it would also lead to the capture of someone he cared about.

He could not betray kin that way.

The journal, it will tell everything, but in the wrong hands it could be dangerous.

He had let Justine tell him everything, making her believe that she was telling someone who wanted what was best for her.

He was only out to protect himself and his family, but the fact was, she was fast becoming family to him.

I’m getting to close. I can’t fall in love, if she finds out what I am tied up in, she will hate me forever.

I hate myself most of the time lately.

He drove to the locked storage container, that held only one item, the journal. He had not really looked at the journal, really read ut before. He only knew that it was dangerous, and the things that he was told about the journal. The journal in the wrong hands, would not only lead to deaths, but would ruin the reputation of many in the community.

What kind of conspiracy could take place in a little town like Emerald Lake?

Chapter Three:

Brandi was killed on a Thursday.

Two years to the day after 9’11.

Ten years ago, but ten years ago, felt like yesterday.

Justine didn’t think she would ever get over the loss of her sister. She could not even begin to try to move on with her life, until she found her sisters killer, and the answer was in the illusive journal.

Whatever secret was hidden in that journal, could mean life or death.

It didn’t make sense, Brandi had been your typical all American fifteen year old girl.

The fact was she was a good girl, Justine and Brandi both were good girls. Justine had come home from classes at the University, to find her sister murdered. Brutally murdered, shot in the head execution style.

It had been ten years, but something like that is never forgotten. And Brandi could not go to sleep at night without that image etched in her mind.

Who would want to kill a fifteen year old girl, one who wrote for her school newspaper, and was active in the Churches youth group.

A few months before she went to college though, Justine noticed Brandi seemed to have changed. She seemed sad, and before this Brandi was usually always cheery. She had been the type to cheer others up. About a year before she was killed something happened that changed Brandi, but no one knew what.

Brandi refused to talk about it, just brushed it off whenever anyone asked her questions.

Justine understood that now she had simply been trying to protect them.

Lord I wish I had insisted on making her talk to me then. I wish I had listened asked Brandi what was going on then. I wish I had made her talk Lord, if I had maybe she would be alive.

Justine’s heart had been heavy for the guilt that she had been feeling for the past ten years.

Someday Justine would find the answers, and maybe a small portion of the burden would be lifted. For now though she was going to have to think on how to find that journal, perhaps Bert could help her. He knew how much this meant to her. He had come just as her world had fallen apart, shortly after her sisters death, and had helped her through some rough months afterwards.

Bert had helped her through some tough times, and she truly believed he would help her through this.

She had no idea who Bert really was, and he was going to do everything in his power to make sure it stayed that way. Her knowing the truth could lead to certain death.

Bert could not risk that, Jeff was right, he had fallen for her.

If she knew the truth though, not only would her life be in danger, but his heart was sure to be broken. If she found out the truth her heart would surely be broken.

He knew who her sisters killer was, and what had lead to her death.

She could never know the truth.

As soon as she found out anything, he would have to disappear.

He would have to make himself scarce!

If he didn’t he would be spending a lifetime in prison, and he wasn’t about to do that, not even for the person he loved.

And he did love Justine, as much as he tried not, God help him he did.

She was sleeping with the enemy and he was the enemy.

A shiver went through his spine just thinking about it.

Yet here he was keeping the charade going, pretending to be someone he wasn’t.

One day the charade would have to end though, and she would find out the truth.

He would be gone, in fact he was making plans to leave now.

He had already told her, he had a business trip he just could not miss.

Little did she know he was not planning on coming back.

He would have to find a way to take the journal with him though. No way could he leave it in that storage locker, when he disappeared. He had to take his life insurance with him. And that book would not only save his life, but in the end it just may save Justine’s life as well. He could not go on like this forever.

Justine would move on, it would hurt at first, but she would move on. She was strong like that, even if she did not believe it.

Chapter Four:

Brandi had always wanted to be writer. That is why the Christmas before she died Justine had got her but another journal. A leather bound journal, with a horse on the cover. That journal went with Brandi everywhere. Their parents had got her a laptop that year as well, knowing how much writing meant to her. It was her first computer, little did they know the trouble that journal or that computer would lead to.

It could have been part of the reason she was dead. She had fallen into something dangerous. Very dangerous. If her parents and her sister had known that would happen, they would have never given her those gifts.

“Justine I hate to leave, but I have to I can’t miss this business meeting, you wouldn’t want me to lose my job, now would you sweetie?”

Why was Bert sounding so condescending

It wasn’t like him. He was acting so strangely.

Perhaps it was just the pressure of his important business meeting coming up.

Perhaps it was something darker.

She did not want to think about that possibility though.

Bert had been her night and shining armor entering her life at the moment she most needed him.

It was all starting to seem strange very strange.

She could not let her mind go there, she just could not. Bert loved her, and she loved him.

She did not want to think about the other possibilities, about how strange that he came into her life when he did.

His strange interest in her dead sister and her journal.

She did not want to think about this, but the thought was in her head.

Why didn’t she put the pieces together before now?

He was someway tied in with her sisters death. She did not want to think about that. She wanted to live in her fantasy for awhile longer. She wanted to believe Bert truly loved her, that the past ten years hadn’t been some kind of sick lie.

I want to believe the best for awhile longer Lord. I don’t like where my mind is going lately, but something is not right. Even I can see that.

Lord could the very man who loves me, be the one who wants to kill me?

I am so confused Lord. Let this be my overactive imagination. Maybe I need to put the search for Brandi’s journal to rest.

Justine knew she could not do that though. She had to have her sisters journal back, because the answers to ten years of not knowing were in that journal. That journal was going to give her the answers she needed. The answers that might finally bring Brandi some justice.

Brandi deserved justice, no matter if finding out the truth hurt Justine.

She was willing to risk her life, to make sure her sisters murder was avenged.

Lord no matter what happens, please help me be sure whoever did this to Brandi does not do it again,

Sad truth was though, Justine knew that he already had.

Their had been several murders, with similar almost identical M’o’s to Brandis.

The murders started around the time Bert showed up.

She did not want to think like this, but it was hard not to.

Why is it Lord that I am just putting the pieces together?

Justine knew she should go to the police with her suspicions, but she could not do that. She had no proof, and she did not want to go to the police without any proof. She did not want to do that to Bert, because what if she was wrong?

“Brandi, I promise you someday I will find the answers.” She still found herself talking to her sister this way sometimes. Of course she did not expect her to answer back, but she would like to think Brandi heard her.

Lord will I ever stop feeling guilty about what happened to my sister. Will I ever be able to get passed the feeling, that somehow her death, is because of something I did?

Of course it had not been, how could it be? Justine had no idea of the secrets that laid in her sisters journal? The secrets that had led to her murder! She needed to find out the secrets. She needed to find justice for her sister. Brandi’s murderer would one day pay for his or her crimes, even if they did not pay in this lifetime, they would pay when they faced Judgement day.

Justine prayed justice for Brandi would come sooner than later.

Brandi deserved that, fact was Brandi had deserved to live. Whatever secrets that were kept in that journal, were not something that anyone should die for her. Certainly not the death of a fifteen year old girl. Her sister.

I could have had nieces or nephews by now. I bet she would have been married, a house full of children, a yard, and a white picket fence, the whole nine yards. She would have been a world famous author, but her family would come first it always would.

Brandi had, had a gift for words, she could have been the next Mary Higgins Clark.

Brandi had so much potential, she had been so smart, but that did not make her immune to evil. The fact was it was probably her intelligence, that led to her murder. In a small part, in no way could Justine blame it on Brandi, but she wished she had never given her that journal.

Mom and Dad blamed themselves too, they blamed themselves because they had given her the computer. We still believe that someway the computer is tied to her death too, and that had been wiped cleaned, someone knew what they were doing. We had tired to retrieve what had been erased, but this was hard erase, not something just anyone would know to do.

The computer was trash by the time they were done. We did not even have Brandi’s words to help us through this.

“I’m sorry Brandi, I let Bert go. He could lead us to the answers, that would find your killer and I let him go.”

I failed my sister. I made her a promise and I failed her.

Justine could not shake the guilt. She should have made sure Bert did not get away, but he was long gone by now. And she was almost certain by now that he had the journal. She was finally putting the pieces together, and he was by now states away.

How could I have been so blind Lord?

Perhaps she didn’t know everything she thought she knew though.

Maybe Bert really did love her.

If he did he certainly had a funny way of showing it.

Bert hadn’t even called as he promised. And when she tried his cell phone she found it had been shut off.

It was like he was trying to disappear.

Maybe it wasn’t what she thought it was. Maybe he just forget to pay his phone bill.

Somehow that did not seem right? Bert was not one to forget paying his phone bill, he had practically been tied to that thing. Always talking to someone.

Some of the conversations now seemed Cryptic.

This was all to weird.

Lord if he was really behind Brandi’s murder, and he knows that I am starting to figure things out I could be in danger.

I don’t want to die, not now Lord. I want to find out who my sisters killer is, I want to make sure that they pay.

Chapter Five:

Justine laid awake trying to figure out all that had happened in the past twenty four hours, but the fact of it none of it made any sense. The man she had loved was turning out to be a fraud, she was as sure of that now, as she was that her sister was dead.

Ten years now, and still she felt the pain like it was yesterday.

Brandi was four years younger than Justine, but even when she was little Brandi had been close to her younger sister. And Justine did not mind, of course they had their moments all sisters do, but that did not mean she did not love her sister. Fact was Justine would have done anything to protect her sister, but the one time she couldn’t her sister had died.

How could she protect her sister from something she wasn’t even sure what it was? It was like a shadow, of danger, but it was all to real. Brandi’s death had proved that.

Lord I know all this guilt is not good for me, but I can not help but feel this way. Brandi is dead, and has been for ten years and the pain is still as fresh as it was yesterday. Maybe if I knew more than I did ten years ago I would feel a little better, but this is hard. This is all so hard Lord, and now Bert has gone, that had all been a lie too.

Why have I been so blind Lord?

“I promise you Brandi I am going to focus more on finding that journal and finding your killer, even if it turns out to be Bert. It will break my heart sis, but you deserve justice. I am sorry I failed you.”

Brandi wouldn’t have liked her sister saying that about herself. She did not like when people were down on themselves, but the last few months of her life, that was just how Brandi had been. She had been in a world of her own, a sad world. Even when she was at home, it was like she was a million miles away.

What did they do to my little sister? What did they do to her before they killed her? It was like they were slowly killing her spirit, or perhaps it was a burden she was carrying a secret?

Before Brandi had died she had disappeared a lot, sometimes over night, something she had not done before. The last few months of her life had been different, so very different than the rest of her life had been. It was almost as if something had taken her very faith to the core.

What could have done that to her? What could have changed her sister so much?

Ten years later, and she was still trying to put the pieces of this very confusing puzzle together.

Her family was trying to forget it though. She knew they still grieved Brandi in their own way, but her parents had buried themselves in their carriers, but after Brandi had been killed, they had done everything in the power to make sure Justine was safe. They only had one daughter living now, and it broke their hearts.